I here present thee with Prayers and Devotions, fitted to support the spirits, and to direct and improve the virtues, of those who at any time, or in any place, are called out by the wisdom and goodness of God, to suffer for the cause of Truth and Righteousness.
The Charitable helps and offers of this kind, are very needful, and will be very acceptable, to those who are actually labouring under the Cross, and bearing affliction for the blessed Jesus. And as for others, who think they have no need thereof for themselves; yet may they at all times find occasion enough, if they please, to put up such Prayers for their persecuted Brethren and Fellow-Members. For the Church of Christ, is still bearing his Cross in one part or other; and whilst in one place he is cherishing some with the comforts of Peace, he is elsewhere proving others of their Brethren with Tribulations. Nay, since these Trials are common to men, and more especially to Christians, he who says at present that he is most free from them, knows not how soon the All-wise God may see fit to bring him under the same. And 'tis good to be fore-armed and provided for a sharp conflict, which we are liable to be tried withal; and the rather, because in the heat thereof, when these helps are most needed, they are usually hardest to be got, and 'tis not so easy then to put them into the hands of those, who want to be directed and assisted by them.
Indeed, by the bounty and indulgence of Almighty God, the true Disciples of Christ have here their intervals of rest and quietness, and are oft-times comforted and refreshed with worldly peace, and the favour of Princes. But when God gives them this outward ease, it is more than his Gospel promises. Their profession, is to be followers of a man of sorrows, and to look for Crosses and Persecutions in his service; and, when they come, to take them up, and bear them patiently after him. So that it must neither be contrary to their spirit, nor expectations, to hear of sufferings; and it should never be thought a service out of season, to instruct them how to bear them, and to furnish them with such Prayers and proper Reflections, as may afford them both direction, and support therein.
The first care in this Case, is to see that their sufferings be for the Truths sake, or for a good Cause. Without this, the hopes of sufferers are but a Dream, and there is no true ground of comfort or support in them. If they suffer only for their own follies, or fancies, what reason has their blessed Lord to thank them, for being fanciful or foolish? Or, if they suffer for maintaining dangerous Errors, and for turning out of the way of Truth and Righteousness, these are not things for him to reward, but to punish. 'Tis only their suffering for some Doctrines, or Precepts of his, that can render them his Martyrs or Confessors: And when they take care to be found in that way, and suffer for hearkening unto him, he will support them whilst they suffer, and afterwards make them ample amends for the same.
But when they take care to be found in a Righteous Cause, they must be careful withal to honour him, and approve themselves, by all the parts and virtues of a Righteous and truly Christian Carriage. Their study then must be, to shew minds advanced above all earthly fears and desires, to support themselves with the comforts of Religion, and the belief of Gods Promises, to bear their Afflictions for Christ's sake with patience and thankfulness, to weary out their persecutors fury with their Religious constancy, to vanquish all their injuries by returning prayers and kindnesses; and in all things, to evidence a spirit, that is full of love, and holy zeal, and humble confidence in God; but that is not either to be corrupted by the ease and comforts, or shocked and broken by the threats or losses of this world. And by these and such like virtues, they will be made conformable to the image of their suffering Saviour, and perform a service most fragrant and pleasing unto him, and most honourable to Truth and a Righteous Cause. For the world doth not afford a more glorious sight, than to see a Christian with Religious bravery and constancy bearing Christ's Cross, and by magnanimity and meekness, triumphing over all the powers of Error and unjust Violence.
These, indeed, are hard services. But as they have great difficulties, they will at last have glorious Rewards, and at present have great assistances. The Almighty Spirit of God will support those, who seriously and Religiously set themselves to suffer Christianly in his Cause: They will be set above themselves, and will be guarded and fortified against human weakness, by the powers of the Divine Grace. And this, as they must humbly and firmly depend upon, so must they constantly and earnestly seek from him, by Prayers and Devotion.
In the following Offices, it has been my aim and study, to be as helpful to them as I can for this purpose. And therein, according as I was able, I have not only suggested the true comforts and supports; but directed their eye to the true spirit, duty, and carriage of Gospel-sufferers. And have taught them under the same, to express such resentments, and aspire after such raised affections, as may become those, who would honour God, and secure their own future happy reward by their sufferings, and who count it a privilege to be thought worthy by the Blessed Jesus to suffer in his Cause. And on this Account, this little Book may be put into the hands of the Persecuted, not only as a Form of Devotion, to be put up to God in holy and fervent Prayers; but likewise as a Treatise of Instruction, to be read for the Knowledge of their Duty, and as a Guide to their Practice; since therein they have a draught and delineation of that Spirit which they are to nurse up and shew forth, and of those habits and virtues wherein they are to dress up their souls at such times.
I have been very particular in the Devotional provisions and supplies for these purposes, and have had regard both to private and publick necessities. Which pains, I hope will be acceptable to devout minds, who, when they are desirous to express their devotion on those particulars, will not be unfurnished with fitting Forms, and may at any time use more, or fewer thereof, as their leisure permits, or as their needs require.
And to the Body of Prayers and Devotions, I have prefixed a Collection of select Scriptures, upon the several Duties, and most important needs and desires, of sufferers for Righteousness. And this I have done, for the sufferers guidance and instruction, as well as for their devotion. For, besides the kindling and quickening of devout affections, and the strengthening and supporting of their spirits amidst their Heavy Trials, when they use them as sacred Hymns, or as matter of their Religious Meditations: These Texts will teach them the necessity, and help to shew them the Nature and Offices of all those respective Duties, which are as the salt to the sacrifice, without which their own Oblation of themselves would be insipid, and their Losses for Christ's sake would neither gain his favour and acceptance, nor effectually recommend and do Honour to his Cause. And both the Scriptures collected, and the Prayers composed for these ends, are as follows.
Psal. 94. and Ps. 125.
Heb. 12. to v. 18.
2 Cor. 1. to v. 13.
Ps. 12. and Ps. 14.
Heb. 10. v. 23. to end.
When we suffer striving against sin, we are chastened and corrected of the Lord, Heb. 12. 4, 5. 6. 9.
The time is come, that judgment must begin at the House of God, 1 Pet. 4. 17.
I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my Cause, and execute judgement for me, Mich. 7. 9.
O Israel! Return unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity, Hos. 14. 1.
Remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled, and loath yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed, Ezek. 20. 43.
Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do thy first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy Candlestick out of his place, unless thou repent, Rev. 2. 5.
If the Fig-tree continues barren, the Lord will say to the Dresser of his Vineyard, cut it down, Luke 13. 6, 7.
Without Repentance, the Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a Nation bringing forth the fruits thereof, Matthew 21. 43.
If the world hate you, you know that it hated me, before it hated you.
Remember the word that I said unto you, the Servant is not greater than the Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore doth the world hate you, Joh. 15. 18, 19, 20.
If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on that behalf.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of Glory, and of God, resteth upon you.
Rejoice, in as much as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when his Glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy, 1 Pet. 4. 13, 14, 16.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, and leap for joy, for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you, Matth. 5. 11. 12. Luke, 6. 23.
If ye suffer for Righteousness sake, sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.
And be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; and be ready always to give an answer to every man, that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and reverence, 1 Pet. 3. 14. 15.
Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in Heaven.
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny, before my Father which is in Heaven, Mat. 10. 32, 33.
For with the heart man believeth unto Righteousness; and with the mouth Confession is made unto Salvation, Rom. 10. 10.
And let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls unto him in well-doing, as into the hands of a faithful Creator, 1 Pet. 4. 19.
Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my foot-steps slip not, Psal. 17. 15.
Though all this is come upon us, yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy Covenant.
Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined out of thy way.
Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death, Psal. 44. 17, 18, 19.
Stand, having your loins girt about with Truth, and having on the breast-plate of Righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, Eph. 6. 14. 15.
Walk in wisdom towards those that are without, redeeming the time.
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man, Col. 4. 5, 6.
See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil, Eph. 5. 15, 16.
Beware of men, for they will deliver you up to the Councils.
And ye shall be brought before Governors, and Kings for my sake.
Behold! I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves, Mat. 10. 16, 17, 18.
Finally my Brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, Eph. 6. 10.
Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel; and in nothing terrified by your Adversaries, Phil. 1. 27. 28.
Contend earnestly for the faith, which was once delivered to the Saints, Jud. 3.
Put on the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil.
That ye may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all to stand, Eph. 6. 11. 13.
Let us hold fast the profession of our Faith, without wavering, (for he is faithful who hath promised.)
Not forsaking, the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching, Heb. 10. 23. 25.
And now, Lord! behold their threatening; and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, Act. 4. 29.
Wherefore take unto you the whole Armour of God. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, Eph. 6. 13. 16.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great Recompense of reward, Heb. 10. 35. 38.
Look unto Jesus, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the Right Hand of the Throne of God, Heb. 12. 2.
It is a faithful saying, if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him, 2 Tim. 2. 11, 12.
Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding, and eternal weight of Glory.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen, are temporal; but the things which are not seen, are eternal, 2 Cor. 4. 17, 18.
And fear not them which kill the body. For not a sparrow shall fall on the ground, without your Father. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered, Mat. 10. 28, 29, 30, 31.
When ye do well, and suffer for it, hereunto were ye called, 1 Pet. z. 20, 21.
It falls to none to be conformed to the image of his Son in sufferings, but to them, who are called thereto, according to his purpose, Rom. 9. 28, 29.
Whilst God continues his hedge about them, Satan cannot touch them, Job. 1. 10.
When he brings them under heaviness, through manifold temptations, 'tis only for a season, and if need be, 1 Pet. 1. 6.
When he permits their Persecutors, to give them some trouble, the remainder of wrath shall he restrain, Psal. 76. 10.
God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it, 1 Cor. 10. 13.
He is a very present help in trouble, Psal. 46. 1.
From him we shall obtain mercy, and find grace to help, in the most sitting season, Heb. 4. 16.
My Grace is sufficient for thee, my strength is made perfect in weakness, 2 Cor. 12. 9.
And since what they suffer, is only according to the will of God, let them that suffer, commit the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator, 1 Pet. 4. 19.
The fear of man bringeth a snare; but who so putteth his Trust in the Lord, shall be safe, Prov. 29. 25.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee, Is. 26. 3.
Blessed is the man, that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is, Jer. 17. 7.
For he is a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble, Psal. 9. 9.
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth, he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder, he burneth the chariot in the fire, Psal. 46. 9.
Some trust in chariots, some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God will we set up our banners, Psal. 20. 5, 7.
It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in Princes, Psal. 118. 8, 9.
Our Fathers trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them, Ps. 22. 4.
Thou Lord hast not forsaken them that seek thee, Psal. 9. 10.
He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him, Psal. 37. 40.
He will arise and have mercy upon Sion, when the time to favour her, yea, the set-time is come, Ps. 102. 13.
I the Lord will hasten it in its time, Is. 60. 22.
But if you will not believe, surely you shall not be established, Isa. 7. 9.
And he that believeth shall not make hast, Isa. 28. 16.
There is no King saved, by the multitude of an host; a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety; neither shall he deliver any by his great strength, Ps. 33. 16, 17.
Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains; truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel, Jer. 3. 23.
Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lye: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity, Ps. 62. 9.
Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of? Is. 2. 22.
Put not your trust in Princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day all his thoughts perish, Psal. 146. 3. 4.
Cursed be the man, who trusteth in man, saith the Lord, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land, and not inhabited, Jer. 17. 5, 6.
But blessed is the man, that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies, Psal. 40. 4.
Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery, Psal. 62. 10.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding, Prov. 3. 5.
For there is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor council against the Lord, Prov. 21. 30.
Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
Behold all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand, you shall lye down in sorrow, Isa. 50. 10, 11.
Endure hardship, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, 2 Tim. 2. 3.
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small, Prov. 24. 10.
Wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee, Prov. 20. 22.
He that believeth will not make hast, Isa. 28. 16.
It is a good thing, that a man should both hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord, Lam. 3. 26.
Ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry, Heb. 10. 36, 37.
The rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous, lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity, Ps. 125. 3.
Behold! the Husband-man waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain.
Be ye also patient, stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
Take, my Brethren, the Prophets for an example, of suffering affliction, and of patience.
Behold! We count them happy which endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy, Jam. 5. 7, 8, 10, 11.
In your patience possess ye your souls, Luk. 21. 19.
For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it, Mat. 16. 25.
Let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due time we shall reap if we faint not, Gal. 6. 9.
Consider him, that endured such contradiction of sinners, lest ye be weary, and faint in your minds, Heb. 12. 2.
He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth, Isa. 42. 4.
Because iniquity of persecutors shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved, Mat. 24. 12, 13.
Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a Crown of Life, Rev. 2. 10.
Here is the patience, and faith of the Saints, Rev. 13. 10.
Be patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer, Rom. 12. 12.
Take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may able to stand in the evil day. Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance, and supplication for all Saints, Eph. 6. 13. 18.
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray, Jam. 5. 13.
For my love they are my adversaries; but I will give myself unto prayer, Psal. 109. 4.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith, without wavering. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching, Heb. 10. 23, 25.
When ye suffer for well-doing, take it patiently; for this is acceptable with God, 1 Pet. 2. 20.
And be ready to give an answer to every man that seeth you suffer, and asketh a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and reverence, 1 Pet. 3. 18.
Bless those that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.
That you may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven, who doth good to the just and unjust, Mat. 5. 44, 45.
Moreover, Hereunto are ye called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps.
Who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously, 1 Pet. 2. 21, 23.
He was oppressed, and brought as a Lamb to the slaughter, yet he opened not his mouth, Isa. 53. 7.
When they Crucified him, then said Jesus, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do, Luk. 23. 34.
They stoned Stephen, and he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord! lay not this sin to their charge, Act. 7. 59. 60.
Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat or intercede for our defamers, 1 Cor. 4. 12, 13.
Let not thy heart envy sinners, but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. For surely there is an end, and thy expectation shall not be cut off, Prov. 23. 17, 18.
Fret not thy self because of evil men, neither be thou envious against the wicked. For there shall be no reward to the evil man, the candle of the wicked shall be put out, Prov. 24. 19, 20.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thy heart be glad when he stumbleth. Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him to thee, Prov. 24. 17, 18.
Charity suffereth long, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh or imputeth no evil. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. And though I give my body to be burned, and have not this charity, it profiteth me nothing, 1 Cor. 13. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Bless them which persecute you; bless, and curse not. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Avenge not yourselves, but give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him, if he thirst, give him drink. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good, Rom. 12. 14, 17, 19, 20, 21.
I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the Daughter of my People, Isa. 22. 4.
O! that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night, for the slain of the Daughter of my People, Jer. 9. 1.
Woe unto them that are at ease in Sion; that lye upon beds of Ivory.
That chaunt to the sound of the Viol, that drink Wine in Bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief Ointments; but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph, Am. 6. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it, 1 Cor. 12. 26.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep, Rom. 12. 15.
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body, Heb. 13. 3.
Be not thou ashamed of the Testimony of the Lord, nor of me his Prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel, according to the power of God.
The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus, for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my Chain. But when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me, 2 Tim. 1. 8, 16, 17.
Ye endured a great fight of afflictions, partly whilst ye were made a gazing-stock, both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly whilst ye became Companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves, that ye have in Heaven a better, and an enduring substance, Heb. 10. 32, 33, 34.
Beloved, thou doest faithfully, whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers, which have born witness of thy Charity before the Church: whom, if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well. Because that for his Name sake they went forth. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow-helpers to the truth, 3 Jo. 5, 6, 7, 8.
He that receiveth a Prophet in the Name of a Prophet, shall receive a Prophets reward; and he that receiveth a Righteous Man, in the Name of a Righteous Man, shall receive a Righteous Man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones, a cup of cold water only in the Name of a Disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward, Mat. 10. 41, 42.
I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat; thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; A stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick and in prison, and ye visited me not. In as much as ye did it not, unto the least of these, ye did it not to me, Mat. 25. 42, 43, 45.
Whosoever will be a friend of the World, is the enemy of God, Jam. 4. 4.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him, 1 Joh. 2. 15.
Ye cannot serve both God and Mammon, Mat. 6. 24.
And what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Mat. 16. 26.
Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him, which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell, Mat. 10. 28.
As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ, who comforteth us in all our Tribulation, 2 Cor. 1. 4, 5.
It is a faithful saying, if we suffer we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us, 2 Timothy 2. 11, 12.
Whether we be afflicted, or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation; which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings, which we also suffer.
And our hope of you is also steadfast, knowing, that, as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation, 2 Cor. 1. 6. 7.
I would ye should understand, that the things which happened unto me, have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel.
And many of the Brethren of the Lord waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear, Phil. 1. 12. 14.
I suffer trouble as an evil-doer, even unto bonds, but the word of God is not bound.
Therefore I endure all things for the Elects sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with Eternal Glory, 2 Tim. 2. 9. 10.
O! Let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish thou the just, Ps. 7. 9.
Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. O! Satisfy us early with thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let thy Work appear unto thy Servants, and thy Glory unto their Children, Ps. 90. 13, 14, 15, 16.
Help us then, O God of our salvation, for the Glory of thy Name, Ps. 79. 9.
Arise, and plead thine own Cause; Remember that the Enemies have blasphemed thy Name, and how the foolish Man reproacheth thee daily.
Forget not the voice of thine Enemies; the Tumult of those that rise up against thee, increaseth continually, Ps. 74. 18, 22, 23.
Wherefore should the Heathen say, Where is their God? Ps. 79. 10.
Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? He hath said in his heart, thou God wilt not require it, Ps. 10. 13.
Grant not the desires of the wicked, O Lord, further not his wicked device, lest they exalt themselves, Ps. 140. 8.
Put them in fear, O Lord, that they may know themselves to be but men, Ps. 9. 20.
Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy Name, Psal. 83. 16.
14. For Trust in God, to be preserved under the same, and delivered from them.
The Wicked watcheth the Righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
But the Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, Ps. 37. 19, 24, 32, 33.
Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence, from the pride of man; thou shalt keep them secretly in a Pavilion, from the strife of tongues, Ps. 31. 20.
Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a Law?
They gather themselves together against the soul of the Righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.
But the Lord is my defence, and my God is the rock of my refuge.
And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off, Ps. 96. 20, 21, 22, 23.
For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be, Ps. 37. 10.
But the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever, Ps. 9. 10.
For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks, Ps. 18. 27.
So that a man shall say, verily there is a reward for the Righteous, verily he is a God that judgeth the earth, Ps. 58. 11.
Oh! How great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee, before the sons of men, Ps. 31. 19.
For thou, Lord, hast heard the desire of the humble; thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
To judge the Fatherless and the Oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress, Ps. 10. 17, 18.
Light is sown for the Righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart, Ps. 97. 11.
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted, Mat. 5. 4.
They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy.
He that goeth forth, and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
The Lord hath turned our Captivity, he hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad, Ps. 126. 3, 4, 5, 6.
Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord, Ps. 40. 3.
The Righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in him, and all the upright in heart shall glory, Ps. 64. 10.
Zion heard, and was glad, and the Daughters of Judah rejoiced, because of thy judgments, O! Lord, Ps. 97. 8.
O love the Lord, all ye his Saints, for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
Be of good Courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that trust in the Lord, Ps. 31. 23, 24.
Rejoice in the Lord, O ye Righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness, Ps. 97. 12.
Sing unto the Lord, bless his Name, be telling of his salvation from Day to Day, Psal. 96. 2.
And my tongue shall speak of thy Righteousness, and of thy Praise all the day long.
I will give thee thanks in the great Congregation; I will praise thee among much People, Psal. 35. 18, 28.
O Almighty Lord! Who art wont to shew both thy Power and Mercy in correcting Sinners, when the cry of sins grows great, and nothing but Affliction will make them wise; justly art thou moved now at length, to visit thy People in this Land with Persecutions, after we had first turned a deaf ear to all the Calls of thy Mercy, and had long abused the blessings of peace. There is need, O God, of our sufferings, to keep up a Reverence for thy Justice, and to reclaim us from our iniquities; and this fiery Trial comes to purge us from our dross, and to chastise us for our past Offences; as well as to prove our present Obedience and Constancy to thy Holy Laws.
Our Peace, O! Holy Father, had made us loose and contentious; and our Plenty, had served chiefly to maintain Pride and Luxury. And the worldly Endowments about Religion, had stolen our Affections away from it; and instead of continuing thankful and true to thee, our hearts grew covetous and ambitious after them, and preferred and took up with them for their Portion.
We are, O! Lord, a stubborn, and a stiff-necked People, still lifting up ourselves against thee, and against thy Vice-gerents. We are given to Hypocrisy, and take delight in Lies. Oppression and Rapine are to be found in our dwellings; and Drunkenness and Adultery, have grown common and fashionable Wickednesses, and have set up without shame in our streets. Thy pure Worship and Service, had been grievously and shamefully neglected, or carelessly and indevoutly attended, before it was given up to be persecuted amongst us. And thine Holy Things have been defiled; thy Ministers have been despised and evil entreated; and thy Sacred and Dreadful Name has been commonly and horribly profaned, by rash and false Oaths, and by the most presumptuous and terrible Imprecations. Our Works, O! Great and Righteous God, have been Works of Iniquity; and when thou hast called us, we have not hearkened unto thee; when thou hast smitten us, we have not repented, but have dealt proudly, and hardened our necks against thy Word.
To us therefore, O! Lord, belongeth shame, and sorrow, and confusion of face; and thou art Righteous in all that thou hast brought upon us. Our sufferings are far below our deserts, and we must needs justify thee, and condemn ourselves.
But to thee, O! God, belongeth mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against thee: And we return unto thee with true contrition and hearty repentance for all our Iniquities, that thou mayest have Mercy upon us. Oh! for the sake of thy Dear Son's most precious Blood, pardon all our sins, and purify our souls. Perfect our repentance, and bring us home entirely to thy self, and prevent all our backslidings. Help our slow and slothful souls, to be quick and vigorous; and our drowsy spirits, to be watchful in the ways of Righteousness. Help thou us, Good Lord, for we are not able to help ourselves, and thou alone art our help. And when our sufferings have by thy help and Grace reduced us to our duty, we shall then, O! Holy Father, thankfully receive any Losses for Righteousness sake, and look on all the violent attempts of the Enemy, as so many instances and messengers of thy Mercy, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
O! most Mighty God, and Merciful Father, who hast Compassion upon all Men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, who wouldest not the death of a sinner, but that he should rather turn from his sin, and be saved; mercifully forgive us our Trespasses; receive, and comfort us, who are grieved and wearied with the Burden of our sins. Thy Property, is always to have Mercy; to thee alone it appertaineth to forgive sins. Spare us therefore, good Lord, spare thy People whom thou hast redeemed; enter not into judgment with thy servants, who are vile earth, and miserable sinners: But so turn thine Anger from us, who meekly acknowledge our vileness, and truly repent us of our faults; and so make hast to help us in this world, that we may ever live with thee in the world to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Blessed Jesus! Who now callest us out to bear thy Cross, and to suffer Afflictions for thy sake, who sufferedst a most ignominious Death for ours: bring none of us to suffer, till thou hast first prepared us for it; nor let us suffer more, or longer, than thou wilt enable us willingly, and thankfully to endure.
Let not any among us, O! Lord, come to suffer for our own follies, nor be afraid to suffer for thy Righteousness. And give us all Grace to live according to thy Precepts, that we may all have Courage and Comfort in suffering for them. Let us not take liberty to transgress some duties of our Holy Religion, whilst we suffer for others; nor ever hope to recommend ourselves, or our sufferings, to thy merciful acceptance, without studying to be entire in our godly care, and having an eye to all thy Laws.
And when our Afflictions press most upon us, let the Graces and Comforts of thy Holy Spirit abound most in us. Whatever else we lose thereby, let us not lose Truth, and a good Conscience Preserve us steadfast in the belief of thy Heavenly and Oppressed Truths, and undaunted in the Profession of them. Grant us patience to bear thy Cross, and not grow faint or weary; and meekness to bear our Persecutors, and not grow angry and bitter of spirit; and Charity to forgive their Wrongs, and to overcome their evil with good. Strengthen our Faith, of thy Heavenly Joys, to recompense all these earthly sufferings; and of thy never-failing Help and Grace, to assist and support us under them, and to deliver us from the same in thy due time. Let the greatness of our distresses, drive us to be more constant and earnest in our Prayers. And as fast as Afflictions come from our Persecutors, let succours and supports still come from thee. O! Let us always have thy strength to bear us up, and find thee an help at hand in our greatest needs; and then our patience and godly steadfastness shall triumph over all the malice of our Persecutors.
And suffer us not, O! Father of Mercies, to be dashed to pieces in this storm, and swallowed up in these waves. But in thy tenderness to our infirmities, after we have suffered a while, send us ease. Shorten the days of these sufferings, and hasten thy coming for our Deliverance; and bring us at length to everlasting rest and peace in thy Heavenly Kingdom, through JESUS CHRIST our Lord. Amen.
O! God Merciful Father, that despisest not the sighing of a contrite heart, nor the desire of such as be sorrowful: Mercifully assist our Prayers which we make before thee, in all our troubles and adversities, whensoever they oppress us; and graciously hear us, that those evils, which the craft and subtlety of the devil, or man worketh against us, be brought to nought; and by the providence of thy goodness, they may be dispersed, that we thy servants, being hurt by no persecutions, may ever more give thanks unto thee, in thy Holy Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
OH! Almighty Lord, thou hast reserved us for days, when he that will depart from evil, is like to make himself a Prey. But grant me Grace, to esteem no Loss, comparable to that of Innocency and of a good Conscience; nor to harbour any fear, like to that of thy displeasure, and of the intolerable and eternal pangs of Hell-fire.
Let thy Laws, O! my God, direct all my steps, in my greatest dangers. Keep me more studious in all my Counsels, of what is lawful for me, than of what seems safe and serviceable in my necessity: And never suffer me to stoop to any sin, in hopes thereby to put by fleshly trouble, or to serve any worldly turn.
In thy Providence, O! Father of Mercies, lies all my safety and protection. And Oh! that I may ever commit myself to that protecting Providence, by keeping close to thy Commandments. Oh! that I may never in any case forsake them, but always look upon that as the ready way to have thee forsake me. Whatever straights or dangers encompass me, the ways of my duty, O! Lord, are the surest ways of thy mercy, and of my own safety. And Oh! that I may find them to be ways of preservation and deliverance at present, and of everlasting peace and joy in the end, through our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
O! Almighty and Everlasting God, Keep me constant to thy Truths and Precepts, amidst all these violent Persecutions, which are ready to come upon me for the same. Oh! that I may stand fast in thy ways, and be nothing terrified by the Adversaries thereof. That I may stand fast in the evil day, and contend earnestly for the Faith. Let me not grow weary of well-doing, or of godly suffering, nor wax faint in a good Cause Enable me to stand to my duty, at all hazards, and to be ready, if the will of God be so, to witness it unto Bonds; yea, or even to seal it with my blood, and to dye for thee, as thou, Blessed Saviour, hast done for me.
Let not the fear of men, make me forsake thee; nor let my love of this World, make me throw up my blessed hopes of a better. Nor give me up, for the sake of any Losses or Terrors, to fall from my duty, or to deny thee before men, that thou mayest not finally deny me before the Angels which are in Heaven.
Oh! that I may never leave thee, Oh! Holy Jesu, because thou art a Man of Sorrows. But give me Grace, with Moses, always to prefer the Afflictions of the godly when they are persecuted, before the Joys of the wicked; and to choose to be among those, who suffer for Righteousness, rather than among those, who seem best to thrive and prosper in the ways of violence. Oh! that I may not grudge to take up the Cross, when that is in my way to win the Crown; nor to endure a short tribulation for the Kingdom of Heaven, which thou art ready to give to all that faithfully serve and suffer for thee, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
O Almighty and most Merciful God! keep me from being any ways unsettled, or shaken in mind, about the way of thy Truth, and of thy Righteousness. Oh! that thy Judgments may not make us harbour any suspicion, of the Truth of our Holy Faith; but make us see, that they all come upon us, to try how far we can suffer for it; or to punish us, because we have not been true to it. They are sent, O! Righteous Lord, to punish the Looseness and Wickedness of our Lives, amidst the Orthodoxy and Holiness of our Professions.
And let not any other Person's unsteadfastness in thy ways, how great or numerous soever they be, cause me to waver, or once think of varying from the same. Oh! that I may never follow weak minds, in their fickleness and inconstancy; nor worldly minds, in Varying Belief and Professions, according as they are blown about with every blast of worldly Interest, or Convenience. Let me not think the worse of thy Truths, because others forsake them. Nor run in to those, who prefer the ways of worldly ease, before the ways of innocence. Nor grow weary of the ways of everlasting Life; because others, setting more by worldly enjoyments, are ready to exchange them, when there is hopes of present security thereby, for ways of everlasting death. Thy Truth, O! Lord, are everlasting, and still the same. And Oh! that my Belief and Love thereof, may always be one and the same too, for our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
Especially, O! Lord, let not my reverence of any Men's Persons, cause me to err from the way of thy precepts. Let not them carry me, against my own Knowledge. Nor suffer me to ascribe more Authority, or to have more Belief in their Examples; than in the plain Voice of thy Word, or in the clear and common Notions of Right and Wrong, and of Natural Conscience. If they would have me shut mine eyes against this Light; let me no longer reverence, or give ear to them. Yea, Though an Angel from Heaven, should come and preach against the same, let me not believe him. Let God be true, though they be held Liars. And let these Monitors be ever firmly thought to speak right, though the most admired Persons gainsay it, and both act and speak wrong.
Make me know, O! God, that thy plain Word, and the known and received Dictates of Natural Honesty and Conscience, are always true and faithful; but that every man, even the best of men, are liable to fail. Let me ever bear in mind, that good men may alter and lose their goodness; but that evil and unrighteous things, do not alter, nor can ever lose their unrighteousness. So that whensoever a good man falls, to do a manifestly evil, and unrighteous thing; his doing it, can only make us think the worse of his Person, but is not in any wise to make us think better of the unrighteous Action.
Teach me, O! Lord, that it is thy Law, and not their Example, which is to be my Rule. That I am thy servant, not theirs; and am to hearken unto thee, not unto them; and to call no man Master upon earth, in opposition to thee my great Master, who art in Heaven. Oh! therefore let thy Truths, O! my God, and not other men's practice, be my Guide; and let thy approbation and acceptance, not their applause, be my Recompense, through the Merits of our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
O! Almighty and most Merciful Father, who both seest, and sendest all these sufferings, which are come upon us from the Adversaries of thy Truth; give me Grace, to live by Faith in thee, and not by fear of them; and in all my Actions under the same, to order myself as one who regardeth what thou promisest, and not what they threaten.
Though I converse in the midst of them, and they are full of rage; yet keep me ever mindful, O! Lord, that their Malice cannot hurt me, more than Satan's Instruments could touch Job, till thou givest them leave. Whatsoever they devise against me, it will come to nothing, till thy time, and my hour is come. So that however they threaten, I know I am secure, till thou callest me out to suffering. And since I shall suffer nothing from them, but at thy time, and under thy direction; in the midst of all this fear and danger, I rest my Soul, O! my God, upon thy care, and cheerfully resign myself to thy protection and good pleasure.
And if it seem good to thee to send some sufferings, thou, O! Merciful Father, wilt graciously suit my Trials to mine Infirmities. Thou wilt order me no more, than by thy Grace, I shall be able to bear; and the remainder of wrath wilt thou restrain. If thou tryest me, it will be only for a season. Thy Grace will take off their Violence, before it has driven me beyond mine Innocence; nor wilt thou suffer the Rod of the wicked to rest upon the back of the Righteous, till they are wearied out thereby, to put forth their hand unto Iniquity.
And when thou hast brought me into my troubles, make me believe assuredly, O! my God, that thou wilt not leave me there. Though I am in no wise sufficient for them of myself, thy Grace shall be sufficient for me; for thy strength is made perfect in our weakness. Still as I need thee, O! Father, thou wilt be with me. Thou wilt strengthen me by thy succours, when my Burdens grow too heavy for me. Thou who sendest me tribulations, wilt send me comfort in them; and make my consolations abound by Christ, as my sufferings abound for him. And make all the sorrows which I endure, to work for thy greater Glory, and my greater good, in thy due time.
And Oh! that in the meanwhile, I may look steadfastly from the Cross to the Crown, and be firm in the belief and expectation, that they who patiently suffer for Christ, shall be sure to reign with him. Set the joy before me, that for its sake, I may willingly endure the Cross, and despise the shame. And hold my eyes fast on the exceeding weight of Glory, which shall Recompense our present Ignominy; and on the things eternal, wherewith thou wilt repair our Loss of Temporal, for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
O! Almighty and most Merciful Father, whilst I walk here in the midst of fear and danger, I humbly and cheerfully trust myself to thy care. I place my safety, in an humble confidence in thee; and come to meet these difficulties, and prepare to bear them, not in any vain presumption of my own strength, which alas! at best is but weakness; no, nor of any earthly supports; but only in the Name and Power of the Lord my God.
Lord! I trust to thee, who art able to save me, and hast promised to help me. I trust to thee, who lovest to be trusted, and hast always been true to me, and never failest those that trust in thee. I look for all my succours, and deliverances, from thy Grace; and am not hasty to fix times to thy Providence, or to set bounds to my own patience; but am contented, yea thankful, to receive them in thine own way, and at thine own time, even at thy set-time of sending them. Oh! help me therefore, O! my God, for thy Faithfulness, and thy Mercies sake, and let me not be disappointed of my hope, for our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
Grant, O! Gracious Lord, that under all our Trials and troubles, we may be duly sensible of the vanity and inconstancy of all earthly supports. Oh! that we may never depart from thee, to trust in them. Nor give over our patient looking up to thee, and thy wise Providence, whose Ways and Methods are far above out of our reach; to presume on our own vain fancies and bold surmises, and lean to our own understandings. Lord, give us not up to feed on wind, which serves not to preserve us, but only to puff us up. Nor to turn aside from regarding thy sure Promises, to support ourselves, and delude one another with lies and vain confidences; and to warm ourselves at imaginary Fires, and walk in the Light of those Sparks, which are not of thine, but only of our own kindling.
Let us not rest our hearts, O! God, and place our confidence, in any Arm of Flesh; for there is no trust in them. For surely men are vanity; yea, to be laid in the balance with thee, they are altogether lighter than vanity. We cannot know all that is in their hearts; and they daily, and suddenly, change their minds and purposes; or their power fails, and they cannot bring their devices to pass. For where they are the most fixed on things, and seem best prepared for them; 'tis not their device, O! Lord, but thy purpose which shall stand, and in a moment thou breakest all their measures. And in a little time, they turn to their dust, and in that very day all their thoughts perish. They are no staff of support, O! God, but a staff of reed to lean upon, and will break, and run into our hands and pierce them, when we lay our weight upon them.
Teach us then, O! Father, in looking upon them, not to look off from thee; and to consider them, even the best of them, only as means of thy Care and good Providence, which can preserve and deliver us without them by a thousand other ways, though there is not any of them that can profit us without thee. And make us all to look upon thee, as the Lord from whom cometh our help, and in whose sole Grace and Mercy we repose our entire and chiefest Trust, through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
O! Almighty and most gracious God, who suitest thy Gifts to our Necessities; in these suffering-times, give me a suffering spirit, and enable me to bear hardship as a good Soldier of Jesus Christ.
Endue me with such patience under the same, as no heaviness, or length of my Trials shall overcome. Let me not be driven by any cruel and unjust usage for thy sake, to accuse thy Providence, or to revile my Persecutors. Let me not shew uneasiness under my sufferings, but willingly and contentedly bear them; yea, rejoice in the same, and thankfully praise thee, that thou countest me worthy to suffer for thy Name. Keep me from growing weary of bearing thy Cross, or from fainting under it. Though thou tarryest, enable me to wait for thee. Oh! that I may persevere in waiting, and hold on to the end, and never let go my patience, when my Persecutors have left me nothing else, or cast away my confidence in thee.
Oh! that I may inwardly triumph in the Righteousness of my Cause, when I am trodden down by the violence of the Oppressors. That I may be comforted to think, that I have still the more of thy Love, as I bear the more of their Malice. Oh! that I may be joyful in hope, as well as patient in tribulation; and count it an extraordinary favour to me, that I have been called out to lose any thing for thee, to testify my love unto thy Laws, and to dispose me for thy Gracious Acceptance, through the Merits and Mediation of my dearest Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
O! Lord, who for wise ends, art ofttimes pleased to permit a Righteous Cause to be worsted, and the devisers of unrighteousness to prevail against it: Suffer us not to fret, or torment ourselves, when we see such wicked men prosperous, and triumph for bringing their unrighteous devices to pass. Let not that tempt us, O! God, to envy sinners, much less to think favourably; yea, or even doubtfully of their wicked Violence. Never give us up to measure the Justice or Injustice of Undertakings, by success; and to miscall apparently wicked things, naming Evil Good, and Wrong Right, only because we see it prosperous. Let us not fall to take part with the Injury, only because of its seeming prosperity; or to think that God has forsaken what is right, because he permits it to be oppressed for a while; or, when we see it once down, to despair of his ever raising it up again.
Thy Judgments, O! most Mighty Lord, are unsearchable, and a great deep: teach us with all humility to reverence them, not by bold expositions, especially in favour of apparently unrighteous things, to abuse the same. They surprise us with doing right, when all outward hopes and appearances thereof are gone. Help us therefore, when things are at the worst, still to have hope and faith in thee, to raise them up again. They open a way, and make a light of deliverance to break forth, at thine own time. Give us patience in expectation, till that time come. The Unrighteous, as Pharaoh was, are more in the way of thy mercy, when thou keepest thy plagues upon them, to soften their hearts, than when thou takest them off. Oh! let us not envy them for that ease, which hardens sinners, and is their greatest unhappiness. They are kept up with successes, for full trial of thy servants patience; and, if they will not repent thereof, to fill up the measure of their own wickedness. Let us therefore learn therein, Gracious Lord, to adore thy forbearance, and to imitate the same, not to repine at it: And to finish the work of our own patience, that patience may have its perfect work in us.
And however it passes here on earth, O! God, yet we are assured that at the Great Day, the Judge of all the World will do exact Justice. The wicked shall then be eternally punished, for all their prosperous wickedness: And the Just shall be everlastingly recompensed, for all the sufferings which they have endured, and for all the losses which they have sustained, in adhering to the ways of Righteousness. Oh! therefore, blessed Lord! that we may ever detest all wickedness, and carefully keep off from it, even when here we see it most prosperous. And steadfastly reverence the ways of Duty and Righteousness, and stick to them, even when we see them labouring under the Cross, and born down with cruel Oppressions. Oh! that we may see, and believe assuredly, that although we do not live to see the prosperity of the ungodly turned into punishments, and the sufferings of thy Saints, exchanged for Crowns and Glories, in this world; yet we shall certainly see the same fulfilled in both to the uttermost, in another world. Where, Lord, grant that I may have my Place of Ease, whatever Troubles I meet with here, for my Dear Saviour Jesus Christ's sake Amen.
O! Holy Father, give me Grace to look up to thee in all my distresses, and to make holy and fervent Prayers, both my most bounden service, and my most sure support, under all these Persecutions. Oh! that the growth of my sufferings, may continually heighten and increase my Devotions. That I may be instant in Prayers, and watch thereunto with all perseverance. And the more straitness and scarcity I find at any time, of publick opportunities; make me so much the more diligent and constant, earnest and affectionate, in my private devotions.
Let not the Malice of mine Oppressors, be able to estrange my soul from thee, or make me weary of conversing with the Almighty. Let devotion be the life and stay of my Spirit, and let me never forget, that my chief remedies against their Violence, are Prayers and Tears. When they drive me from all confidence in myself, teach me to run for sanctuary, and to seek help from thee. Even from thee, O! my God, who with a Fathers pity and tenderness, beholdest what we suffer for thy sake, and wilt support us under the same; who seest our wrongs, and wilt do us right in thy due time. And who bottlest up all our Tears, and wilt remember them with surpassing and eternal Mercies in the day of Recompenses, for our Dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
And, O! Gracious Lord, in these Trials, give me Grace diligently to attend upon the Publick Ministrations, and to make one in offering up thy pure Worship, in the Communion and Assemblies of the Saints.
Make me fully sensible, that when they most violently oppress us, we have most need to fly to thee with joint accord, to help and defend us. And that when they seek most to extirpate thy pure Worship, it lies upon us to meet together, to pay the same and bear it up. Oh! that their Cruelty against it, may enkindle in us a godly Zeal for it. That we may hold on our Profession without wavering; and resolutely stick to thine Holy Assemblies, without which we can not pretend to stand up for thy Cause.
And Oh! that no difficulties, or hazardousness of these Assemblies, may make us indifferent about thy service; and that none among us may lay hold thereof, as an excuse for Irreligion, or profane Negligence. Make us all see, that we can have no excuse in rejecting Prayers and publick Ministrations, more than in rejecting other Duties, only because they are persecuted, and have the Cross upon them. Yea, Lord, let nothing seem so terrible to me, as being debarred the opportunities of waiting upon thee. Nor any Loss seem so hard to be endured, as losing this way of access to God, and the devotion of my Spirit.
Whilst I am serving thee, make me confident, O! my God, that thou wilt protect me. My safety at all times, lies in the care and guardianship of thy good Providence. And I can never have more reason to expect that careful Providence, than when I am taken up in thine immediate service. But if suffering shall happen to meet me there, let me comfort myself to think, that it finds me at a good work, and can not come to me when I am better employed. And whatever I lose in this case, make me sensible, O! Lord, that it is not lost, but most wisely and well laid out; and that I can not part with my Worldly Substance for a better Cause, or to my greater Advantage. Oh! that I may rejoice in such spoiling of my Goods, as what is a laying up Treasures for myself in Heaven. And be glad to have my poor perishing substance thus lent to thee, to be repaid with an Eternal Inheritance in thy Kingdom, through the Merits of my Blessed Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.
But though I am ready to come and suffer for thee, when thou callest me to it; let me not run upon it, O! Gracious God, before thy Call. Suffer me not to expose myself to their Violence, needlessly: Nor to bring it upon my own Head, for things that are no part of thy service. Nay, nor even for doing good things unseasonably; or with such Unnecessary Provocations, or improvident Carriage and indiscreet Circumstances, as are fit to fetch down troubles, when I might have been safe in doing the same, with due foresight and godly caution.
Oh! that Conversing, as I do, in the midst of dangers, I may learn to beware of men. That knowing the days are evil, and that trouble is hasting on apace of itself, I may not throw away my quiet before I need, but redeem the time. Grant me the skill and care, O! Merciful Lord, to be provident in all things, and walk circumspectly. To walk in wisdom towards those that are without, that they may find nothing for which to lay hold of me, but my Love and Zeal to thee, and a wise and faithful discharge of my duty; which, though they persecute, thou, O! my God, wilt graciously accept, for my Dear Lord Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
But together with the wisdom of the Serpent, give me Grace, O! Holy Father, in all my Trials to shew forth the innocency and sincerity of the Dove. Let all my wisdom and wariness, be shewn in doing of my Duty, but never in letting it fall. And in doing it faithfully, without maim or disobedient reserves; diligently, without remissness; and resolutely and undauntedly, when thou callest me forth to shew boldness. Let it never carry me, to secure myself, by neglecting thee, or thy service; or by acting against the rules of Truth and Righteousness, or against the Honour and Interest of thy Cause. Under all my sufferings, O! Lord, help me constantly and strictly to attend to the ways of Religion, that I may suffer with innocence; and not to the worldly ways of Parties, which abound too much with wickedness. And let me never forget, that there is as much need, of a good and righteous Carriage, under sufferings for Christ; as of a good and righteous Cause, for the same.
But in serving thee faithfully, O! Gracious God, let me not shew rashness, nor give the Enemies of thy Truth Advantage against me, by any culpableness or unadvisedness of my own Carriage. Whatever I suffer, let it not be as the Fruit and Chastisement of my own folly, and precipitancy. But grant, that in that day, I may have the comfort and support to think, that 'tis all come upon me, for my duty towards thee, and for an acceptable and well guided Zeal for thy Glory, which, however it is spitefully treated by them at present, will be graciously received, and remembered by thee at last for mine unspeakable and Eternal Comfort, through the Merits of my only Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
O! Blessed Lord, whilst we are suffering at their hands for thy Cause, fill us with Patience, and Charity towards our Persecutors. Keep us always mindful, that there is as much need, of a meek and forgiving Carriage, as of a Righteous Cause, in those that suffer for thee. And that thou sendest Persecutions, for a Trial of our Patience and Charity towards our Oppressors; as well as for a Trial of our Constancy, to thy Truth and Righteousness.
Let us not fail, O! God, of a gracious Acceptance with thee, by our impatience and wrathfulness against them. Yea, and let not the way of Truth and Righteousness miscarry in our hands, through the scandal of our angry Passions. Let us not prejudice any against the goodness of our Cause, by the bitterness and implacableness of our spirits; nor tempt good minds, to be hasty in concluding that we want Truth, because they see we can not be easy in suffering for it, and want Charity.
In all our Trials, O! Blessed Jesus, let us steadfastly consider, how meekly and charitably, thou didst endure thine. And learn of thee, to suffer without threatening, and not only to bear our Enemies, but to love them. To beat back their Violence, by unwearied Patience; and to overcome their inclinations, of heaping Injuries on our heads, by our daily heaping Forgiveness and Kindnesses on theirs. And, instead of being angry at those, by whom we suffer; let it please us, O! God, that we are counted worthy to suffer for thy Name, and enable us to rejoice at our Losses in this World, in hopes of the Blessed Recompense thereof in thy Heavenly Kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
However Cruel or Unjust their usage be, give us Grace, O! Almighty Father, to bear it patiently. Let us not seem fretful and uneasy at our Worldly Losses, as if we paid thee this service with ill will, and were more affected with those things, which they have taken from us, than with the Blessed Hopes of a better and a more enduring substance. Let us suffer meekly, without wrath; and quietly without noise: And neither disturb our own spirits, by discontent and impatience; nor our Persecutors, by bitter Reproaches and Accusations; nor our Neighbours, by wearisome Complaints.
In the midst of all their Troubles, give us inward composedness; and Patience to possess our souls, and have rest in ourselves. And keep our hearts at rest, O! God, on thy Promises, by looking to the sure and blessed hope that is set before us: not on the uncertainty of any worldly supports, or prospects of this Life, which, like the Reeds of Egypt, are liable to break when we lean upon them, and to run into our hands.
And let this patient endurance of all their unreasonable and unjust Violence, have its perfect Work in us. Let us not be wearied out of it, or give way at last to angry resentments; but shew forth this calmness and sweetness of spirit, to the end. Oh! let not our Patience be broke by their injuries, but hold out, till at last it has broke them, and made them relent and grow weary of inflicting the same; and till thou shalt have graciously turned our troubles from them, into everlasting Rest and Peace with thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
AND whilst thou art pleased to try us with these sufferings, O! Blessed Lord, grant that we may never take a privilege for Lawless Wrath, on pretence of being angry for thy Cause. Oh! keep us sensible under their sharpest provocations, that the wrath of man is much apter to transgress the Rules of Piety and Righteousness, than to maintain them. Make us mindful that it belongs to thee to punish wrongs done to thy Holy Religion; that thou art most interested in the same, and most concerned to chastise the Enemies thereof, and wilt do it in thy due time. And that when ungodly men persecute the ways of Holiness, our part is constantly to profess and practice them, to plead when we are called, and patiently to suffer for the same; but thine, to punish for them.
And, Lord, let us not be more hasty for wrath and vengeance, than thou art, in thine own Cause. Let not us lose Patience towards them, whilst thou bearest with them; but study, and pray for their Conversion, and willingly, and joyfully help on the same, that they may be saved at last, through the Merits and Mediation of thy dear Son, our only Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Help us, O! Father of Mercies, not only to bear our Persecutors Patiently, but to treat them Charitably. Enable us to love our Enemies, whilst we suffer by them; to forgive their wrongs, whilst we smart under them; and not to aggravate their evil usage, but, as thou didst.
O! Blessed Jesu, whilst thou borest, the extremity of their Malice upon the Cross, rather study how we may any ways lessen or excuse the same. Oh! that we may approve ourselves thy true followers, by suffering without Threatening; by praying for them, whilst they are persecuting us; by returning blessing for their cursing, kindness for their cruelties, and by overcoming their evil with good.
But let none of us please ourselves, O God! with thoughts or hopes of Vengeance; nor rejoice at their fall, lest it displease thee, and thou turn away thy wrath from their Heads, and direct it upon our own. Let us not render evil for evil, or railing for railing to any man, nor meet their malice with bitter Passions and angry Returns. Keep us ever fully sensible, O! Lord, that under the greatest cruelty of their usage, to shew Patience and Charity is our business; but that the taking Vengeance, must be left to thy Justice. And enable us mildly to commit our Cause to thee, and desire that thou wouldest end our sorrows, not by their destruction, but conversion, through our only Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Lord, let not us fall to hate them, because they cruelly despite us; nor to take up with any false Accusations against them; or, when they stand truly chargeable with any smaller matters, to strain upon them so far, till we have raised them into great and shameful Offences, by our own evil surmises. Let not us vaunt ourselves, because they unreasonably depress us; nor behave ourselves in any kind unseemly towards them, though they should cast off all regard of humanity and decency towards us. Nor ever so far forget thee, as to rejoice in any Iniquity, when it is like to prejudice their Cause, or to serve ours. But to rejoice always in the Prosperity of thy Truth, and in seeing great Temptations turned aside, and general Falls prevented, and in having good and right things take place.
If they provoke us, O! God, enable us to shew patience. If they persist therein, help us to suffer long. Let us bear all things without wrath, and endure all things without weariness, and not forget to be kind towards them; to believe all things favourably, and to speak all things charitably, whilst they are doing all things contrary towards us. And to look upon all these, as parts of that Charity, without which all our sufferings for thee are nothing worth.
Oh! Let the Heavenly Wisdom, which keeps us pure from their errors and corruptions, keep us also peaceable, without bursting into noise and quarrels; and gentle, without yielding to anger and bitter words: and placable and easy in admitting excuses, without any shew of rigor in exacting Reasons, or of being studious of Revenge. Let it keep us full of mercy and good fruits, without any mischievous returns, or any proneness to cruelty and inhumanity, when 'tis in our way to shew the same. And without Partiality and Hypocrisy, as persons uniform in all Acts of Virtue and Justice, when they serve others as well as when they serve us; and who are careful not to put on any Virtue for a pretence, nor to decry things as Evil in others, whilst we can allow of the same in ourselves. Teach us, O! Gracious Lord, that it is only by these Blessed Fruits, that our Belief and Espousal of a right Cause, must approve itself to be the wisdom that cometh from above, and which, as it proceeds from thee, must gain us all acceptance with thee, through the Merits of our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
O! Gracious God, in Censuring the Persons or Actions of all those, who either persecute us, or in these days of Trial are fallen from thee, let Equity and Candor direct and govern all our Thoughts and Speeches, and let not ill will bias us. Oh! that we may never charge them with imaginary Guilts, through our own evil Surmises; nor hastily make sure of any things against them, whilst they are really uncertain; nor make the worst of doubtful things, which goodwill might easily think better of. Yea, where their Falls are plain and manifest, grant us Grace, O Lord, to behold them, as thou didst the wickedness of thy Persecutors, with the bowels and compassion of a Friend, and not with the malicious insults and triumphs of an Enemy. And to judge of them, with a sense of humane infirmities, considering, that we also are liable to be tempted ourselves, and to fall by temptations, and therefore ought to mete out the same measure to them, in judging of their Actions, which we desire that others would mete out to us again, when they come to censure ours. Yea, O! Holy FATHER, cause us always to have before our eyes thy Clemency, as well as our own Necessity; and keep us ready to afford those allowances and abatements in their case, which we all need and desire at thine hands, and through thy mercy hope to find from thee, in our own.
Let us not be rigorously hard upon them, for common Offences, which are ordinarily incident to frail and sinful Natures. Nor for such Falls in great Trials, as may move pity upon the account of humane weakness, as well as deserve blame for their own ungodliness. Let us not shew severity in accusing them violently, and condemning them without any mixture of mercy, for having been over-born by fear, or for having complied too far for sustenance, or safety; for having erred under some great astonishment, and where they had little time for deliberation, and little help for Counsel and Advice; or for falling any other ways, in very difficult and perplexed circumstances.
Suffer us not to favour any wickedness in them, O! Righteous God, and much less to justify it. But when we are about to tax and condemn the Crimes, to the end that we may shew a just Zeal for thee and for thy Righteousness: Let us remember withal, to consider the greatness and difficulties of their Trials; and thereupon to pity their frailty, and to imitate thy mercy, which thou art graciously pleased to shew, both to them, upon their Falls, and likewise to us upon any Falls of ours whereby we daily stand in need thereof, for our most dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
Lord! under all these sorrows and sharp sufferings, teach us to look for the cause thereof within ourselves. Our own Sins, O! Righteous Father, are most justly, though severely, punished in them; and our earthly affections and dependences, need to be purged off by them. And therefore, instead of envying and accusing others, and taxing the injustice of our Persecutors; make us look up with reverence to thy Justice, and lay to heart our many private and publick Miscarriages, and learn thereby to condemn and amend the errors of our own ways.
Grant, O! God, that the experience of our own fears and failures under our Trials, may keep us humble and jealous over ourselves, and charitable towards the Falls of others. And let our daily proofs, of thy seasonable succours and preservations, teach us to have firm Faith in thee, and to rely entirely on thy care and gracious promises. Let the difficulties which we feel in sustaining Losses for thy sake, shew us the worldliness of our desires. Let the inclinations which we find at any time, to ease or secure ourselves by sin, or to allow in ourselves what we condemn in others; convince us of the deceitfulness of our own hearts, and of the hypocrisy of our pretences. Shew us all the roots of bitterness, which are ready to discover themselves when we are tried; and when we see them, give us Grace to cast them out, and to purge our Hearts of the same.
Thus, O! Holy Father, if we cannot amend our Confusions, make them, we humbly entreat thee, thoroughly to amend us. And teach us by the needful and profitable Discipline thereof, both to walk more perfectly in thy fear; and to bear them with patience, remembering that therein we are reaping the just fruits of our own ways; and to shew Charity towards our Persecutors, as considering how we have done amiss ourselves, and how by such Mercy and Forgiveness towards others, we are all to expect Mercy and Forgiveness of our own Offences at thine hands, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
O! Righteous Lord, who tryest thy People with heavy sufferings for thy Truth and Righteousness sake; give me the heart constantly to own thy ways, and those who suffer for them. Oh! that whensoever I see a Member of thine suffering, as a good Fellow-Member, I may suffer with it. That I may be among those, who grieve for the afflictions of Joseph; and come in to bear a share of their Adversity, who are enduring afflictions for thee; and remember those who are in bonds, as bound with them.
Let not me be ashamed of the Testimony of the Lord, nor of any of those who are his Prisoners. But rejoice to make myself a Companion of such, as are bearing Tribulation for his Truths, and be glad when I can minister unto their necessities, and relieve the same. When I see them Sick, and in Prison, give me the heart to visit them, or strangers, and forced to leave their own homes for thy Cause, to take them in; or in want of food, and raiment, to supply them therewith. Give me Grace to do something like to them, as I would do to thee, O! Blessed Jesu, wert thou here before me, and in their Condition.
And Oh! that I may look upon such services, as the most blessed opportunities of shewing my Love unto thyself, remembering that thou wilt say unto us one day, in as much as ye did it unto the least of these, ye did it unto me. Yea, that I may reckon myself therein, to be shewing kindness, not so much to them, as to my own soul. Knowing, that thus to communicate, and have fellowship with them in their sufferings, is the way to communicate and have fellowship with them in their Blessedness; and that he who receiveth a Prophet, or a righteous Man, in the name of a Prophet, or of a righteous Man, shall have a Prophet's, or a righteous Man's reward. Wherewith thou, O! Father, wilt crown, both the Sufferers and their Partakers in the end, through the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
O! Merciful God, who hast visited my Backslidings, and tried my Faith, and fixed adherence to thy ways with sharp Persecutions; look now with pity on my sorrows and infirmities, and if it seem fit for thy Glory, and for my Good, send me the sweet and speedy comforts of rest and peace.
Consider my weakness, O! God, for I am brought very low. Consider that it is thine own cause, and that I am persecuted for thy sake. Consider those that wait on thee, and let not them be ashamed, or disheartened for my cause. Consider mine Enemies, and let not them still more and more exalt themselves. And remember, that they daily reproach thy ways, and as oft as thou givest them success against us, they triumph in it as thy favouring and owning of their ungodly violence, and asperse thee with their wickedness.
Arise then, O! Almighty God, and plead thine own cause. Arise, and right the oppressed, and make the proud, and the Men that rage in ways of ungodliness and violence, to know themselves. Return not upon them, what they have done to us, O! Lord. But fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy Name; and give us ease from their violence, and grace to turn it to thy praise, and to the performance of all holy and thankful Obedience, through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
O! Most Gracious Father, shew mercy, we humbly entreat thee, towards our Persecutors, though they neither shew mercy, nor justice towards us. Cure the delusion of seduced, and seducing spirits. Let them not be led away with errors any longer, nor intoxicated with the love thereof. Let them not continue to resist thy truth; much less proceed to blaspheme and reproach it; and least of all, to set themselves to fight against it by an arm of flesh, and cruelly to persecute and extirpate the professors thereof.
Pity those who are ignorant, and set straight those who are perverse among them. Remove those prejudices, which blind their eyes; and sweeten and mollify their spirits, that they may no longer be driven aside by malice and bitter passions; and dispose them by humility and meekness, and a sincere love of truth and righteousness, to a joyful reception and acknowledgement thereof, that instead of persecuting, they may fall resolutely to profess them, and, if need be, to suffer for the same.
But if any still harden themselves in their error and violence, and think that by destroying thy servants, they please thee, and do God service: yet deal not thou with them, O! God, as they deal with us; but save their Lives, though they seek to take away ours. Though we suffer, yea, or die by their hands, let them not die in their errors and wicked violence: But curb them, Good Lord, in their carrier, and stop it in thy due time.
And if it may seem good to thee, work this blessed change in them, by mild and gentle methods. But if nothing else will touch their hearts with remorse, afflict their bodies, O! Merciful Father, and let the Rod give understanding, and teach them repentance. Yea, let all thy crosses come upon them, rather than the curse of a seared Conscience.
And when there is nothing left but smiting to reduce them, Lord give not off smiting them, till they are brought to see the wickedness of persecuting the ways of truth and righteousness, and to make the best amends they can, by standing up zealously for the same. Say not unto them, as thou didst to the Revolting Jews, who still grow worse and worse under their corrections, Why should you be stricken any more? Nor deliver them up to the wretched ease of incorrigible sinners, who are therefore at ease because their state is hopeless, and whose ease and respite is only that of condemned Prisoners, who are sealed up for sudden and inevitable vengeance. But by what-ever means thou shalt see sit to work the same; let their repentance prevent thine eternal vengeance, through the Merits of our Dearest Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
O! Almighty and most Merciful Father, extend thy help and pity in these trying times, to all the necessities and backslidings of thy Servants. Have Mercy upon all, who either by their own worldly fears, and covetous desires, or by the Art and cunning of Seducers, have been made to fall from thee, and raise them up again. Neither suffer them to rest secure, nor to grow desperate in their wickedness, but fill their hearts with such awakenings, as may put them in the way of true Repentance.
And when any of them grow doubtful of what they have done, Lord, carry on their doubts to a full Conviction. And when once they are convinced of their Errors, give them no rest till they have amended them. Let their Prayers and Alms ascend up before thee, and bring down Grace still more and more to see their fall, and to fit and fortify their Spirits to recover from it. Enable them to overcome all fears of shame and worldly loss; to place their truest, and their only honour in Repentance; and their highest interest and safety, in rectifying and repairing what they have done amiss; and to study above all things, how, despising worldly considerations, they may recover thy Peace, and save their precious and immortal Souls.
Shew Mercy also, O! Gracious God, on all those, who are shaken in mind by these Storms, and begin to stagger in the Faith, and fix and settle them therein. And on all those, who by thy Grace have resolutely withstood the same, and daily perfect and confirm them. Oh! Lord, daily make them more numerous, and let their Sufferings, like that of thy faithful Servants and Confessors of old, be a fruitful Seed of a truly righteous and holy Church. Lengthen out their Patience, whilst thou prolongest their Sufferings, and strengthen their Faith, that they may steadfastly persevere therein. Let thy Providence supply those wants, which any of them are reduced unto for a good Conscience. Give them comfort under their Sufferings, and in thy due time an happy riddance thereof, and endless and unspeakable joys at last in exchange for them.
The more their Enemies seek to root them out by unrighteous Persecution, Oh! that they may answerably strengthen themselves the more in fervent and godly Devotion. Make them to have a strict and conscionable eye to all thy Laws, that whilst in these Persecuted points, they suffer as Saints, they miss not at last of their reward, by taking liberty in any other things to live as Sinners. Oh! that they may study in all things to please thee in their Lives, that so they may be accepted in their Sufferings, for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
AND though here, O! Righteous Father, for thine Holiness, and for thy Truths sake, they are vile in the eyes of Men; let them be precious in thine Eyes, and do thou own them from Heaven. Plead thou the cause of thy Servants, against those that oppress them. Let their Persecutors see, that there is no fighting against thee. Make them find, that Truth is stronger than they, and will at last prevail over them. And that Persecutions, which they use for rooting out the sincere Professors thereof, are over-ruled by thine Almighty Power and Wisdom, to propagate and multiply them.
And when all others are ready to forsake us in our afflictions, do thou, O! God, stick by us. Do thou stick by us in our extremities, and deliver us. Let not the mischievous imaginations of the wicked always prosper, lest they be too proud. Let not the Rod of the Wicked rest upon the Lot of the Righteous, lest they put forth their hand unto Iniquity. Shorten the days of these Sorrows, and make hast to help and deliver us. And work that Deliverance, if it please thee, by the Conviction, rather than by the destruction of our Enemies, for our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
O! Almighty and most Merciful God, have Mercy upon this most wretched and sinful Land, and exalt the greatness of thy Mercy, by curing the Height of our Misery. And in the first place, purge our Sins, O! Lord, which are the chief cause of all our Sorrows, and which are the heaviest Plague that we lie under, though, alas! we are least sensible thereof.
Oh! give us not up to a Reprobate mind, and a seared Conscience. Let thy Correction open all our Eyes, to see and abhor all that iniquity and ungodliness, which calls aloud to thee for Vengeance. Oh! that we may see, what it is to be false and faithless to God and Man; to forsake thee in our Distress, and seek to unrighteous ways for Refuge. That we may lay to heart all that Hypocrisy and Profaneness, all that shedding of Innocent Blood, all that Violence whereof our hands are full, and the Spoils and Oppressions, and other Wickednesses, which have reigned amongst us.
And by these foretastes of Sorrows, which we have already felt in the course of these Iniquities: Grant, O! Lord, that we may be struck with Terror of those insupportable Plagues and after-reckonings, which are yet to come if we continue in the same. And that we may learn thereby to Sin no more, but apply ourselves faithfully to seek and serve thee, that we may be fit for thine Eternal Mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
AND when thou hast cleared us of the Guilt, then Deliver us, O! Gracious Lord, from the Curse of our Transgressions. Let not Power be employed to suppress thy Truths, or a Righteous Cause, but to support them.
Let not violence be able to force the Seat of Justice, nor to hinder or pervert the due and free course thereof. Bless the Labours of all those, who seek to have Truth and Equity take place, and to plant and settle Peace on Righteousness. And set thy Face against them, whose hearts and hands are set on ways of unjust Violence, and publick Disturbance. Turn their hearts, O! God, to be in love with Peace and Justice: Or if still they will be obstinate against the same, weaken their hands, that they may not be able to hinder us of the speedy and happy influence, and settled enjoyment thereof.
Bind up our breaches, O! Father, and make all our unnatural broils and bloodshed cease. We are a People shaken to pieces, do thou settle us. We are all in confusion, do thou bring us into order. We are broken by our Sins, Oh! do thou repair and heal us, by restoring us to ways of Righteousness. Our guilt and misery have made us heartless, and void of courage; Oh! let Innocence, and the light of thy Countenance, raise our Spirits. We lye comfortless in our Iniquities, Oh! Oh! Let thy Spirit reform us, and then speak comfort to us. Heal all the Sores of our Souls, and then lighten our Earthly Burdens. Keep Life in this exhausted Kingdom, which is ready to faint, and daily increase it in the same, and settle us once more in Justice, and Holiness, Peace and Safety, for Jesus Christ's sake, Amen.
O! Almighty Lord, who hast purchased to thy self a Church with thine own Blood; look in Mercy upon the same, however Distressed through all the World. Especially upon that part thereof which languisheth in this Land, and suffer not the Adversary to lay it waste, or utterly to deface it, after thou hast paid so dear for it.
Let not either Superstition, or immoral Wickedness, Corrupt and Profane thy Worship; nor let Schism any longer tear thy Body to pieces. Let not vile Men go on, to make Religion a Cover and Pretence for acting against moral Honesty and Justice, lest the Hypocrisy of some beget Atheism in others, and lest thereby loose Men be tempted to think, and take occasion to say, That there is nothing under any Professions of Religion but serving Worldly ends, because they can see nothing else under theirs.
Oh! That Truth and Righteousness may be set up in thy Church, and that Love and Unity may be set up in our Hearts. That we may once more hear the Voice of Joy and Peace, and receive Beauty for Ashes.
Pity a Church, O! Blessed Lord, which has long maintained Truth of Doctrine, and Purity of Worship in the Nation; and which has openly professed, and bore out the Doctrine of patient Suffering for Righteousness, and not resorting to any evil means for Relief, in the Eyes of Men. Pity those who suffer, and are in danger to be destroyed for their steadfast adhering to these thy ways, when others generally fall off from them, and set themselves violently to persecute the same. And hear their Cries, who mourn in Sion, and are afflicted for the Dishonour that is brought upon thy Name, and for all the Violences which are done to an Holy Religion.
Preserve them, Holy FATHER, by thy Power, and give them not up to the will of their Oppressors. But stir up thy Strength, and come and help us. Give us Constancy against the Errors of our Persecutors; and in thy good time give us rest from their Violence, for our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's sake, Amen.
Grant, O! Lord, we beseech thee, that the Course of this World may be so peaceably ordered by thy Governance, that thy Church may joyfully serve thee in all Godly Quietness, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
O! Father of Mercies, who seest all the Back-slidings and Calamities of thy poor Church amongst us; pity its misery, and possess it with such a Spirit, as is fit to enliven and actuate thy Body.
Oh! Keep it in thy Truth, and save it from Heresy, and false Doctrines, either about Faith, or Practice. Give it not up to teach Errors for Advantage, or to justify unlawful ways for worldly Ends, and Securities. Nor suffer it to suit its Doctrines to secular Turns, or to change Religious Principles, as it shall be driven thereto, by worldly Necessities.
Fix it in ways of Holiness, O! Lord, that all its Ministrations may be such, as become Saints. Suffer it not to mix sin in thy Service, or to teach it to thy People. To pollute holy Offices, with any ungodly or unrighteous Petitions; and prostitute and profane thy Worship, by falling therein to offer any abominable things. Oh! let not its Ministrations become the Ministrations of Unrighteousness, but be Holy and without Blemish, as befits thine House, and becomes thy Spouse.
Whilst thou art pleased to try it with Tribulations, Lord, let them only purge it, but not lay it waste.
And revive a suffering Spirit among us, when it labours under a suffering State. Make it willing then, and ready to quit all Interests of this World, and live upon the hopes of a better. Enable it contentedly, yea, joyfully to take up thy Cross, and to bear it after thee. Oh! that at such times it may always be more afraid of Sinning, than of Suffering. Oh! that it may never fall, to make the way of Gain, to pass for the way Godliness; or to Preach up what is Unrighteous, because it is become serviceable and safe. Nor ever seek to Error and Wickedness for Refuge, instead of seeking to God, and trusting in him, and in his holy ways, for the same.
Oh! Father, in thy Mercy, guard it against all Error and Ungodliness; rescue it from all Schisms and Divisions; and free it in thy due time of its Distress and Persecutions, for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
O! Almighty Lord, Direct and Rule the Hearts of thy People by the Power of thy Grace, that they may no longer run furiously upon Unrighteous Expedients, nor by their Violence drive their Teachers into the Practice and Justification thereof. Oh! that they may seek to hear true, and not pleasing things; and not only hear, but love to be faithfully dealt with. And give them not up, O! Father, to persecute the Preachers of Righteousness, who are ready to warn them of the Error and Danger of their ways; or to despite them, and treat them as their worst Enemies, only for telling them thy Saving Truths.
Lord, let not the love of Error, and Hatred of those Truths which are according to Godliness and Honesty, always Reign in them. Let them not persist therein without Remorse. Or, when they are smitten with Relentings, let them not lie sealed up in their Iniquity, as the fallen Angels do, by despair of Mercy, and seat themselves among those Sinners, who, when once they have done ill, think they cannot be safe, but by doing worse.
Especially, O! God, deliver them not over to a Reprobate Sense, nor shut them up under a Spiritual Blindness. But open their Eyes, to see from whence they are fallen, and to seek after those things which are necessary to their Everlasting Peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Deliver this Church, O! Almighty Lord, from Schisms, which have torn it to pieces. And grant that all those Members, who are broken off, may return to offer up their Religious Services, in due Dependence upon their own Orthodox and Lawful Pastors: and to make Conscience of keeping Union, and of continuing Subject and Obedient unto those, who are Rightfully set over them in the Government of thy Church.
Let them not think it enough, O! God, to have Holy Prayers. But teach them moreover, to put up these Prayers in such Assemblies, as keep Obedient and United to those Spiritual Fathers, whom thou hast called to be the Rightful Governors of the Body. And make them know, that when, as good Christians, they are careful to join in none but Holy Services; they must take care also, as good Church-Members, to present those Services to thine Hands, in the Unity and Communion of thy Church; there to be accepted with thee, through his Merits and Mediation, who is the Head and Saviour of the Body, even thy most Blessed Son, and our only Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
Bend the Hearts of all amongst us, O! blessed Lord, to have Peace amongst themselves. Teach them Humility and Submission to those, whom thou hast put in Authority over them. Let Love and Lowliness increase, and all self-denying and amicable Tempers. And remove far from us Covetous and Aspiring Thoughts, and Pride, and self-pleasing, and all Wrath and bitter Passions.
Reconcile all jarring Spirits; and cause all Discord and Division to cease. And dispose us all, O! Jesu, thou Prince of Peace, to see those Truths, which make for Peace, and tend to close our Breaches, and willingly to submit to them. Let us not give way so far to Anger and bitter Passions, till none but violent things will please us, and till we grow fond and greedy of any Error that will make the Breach wider, but Zealous against such Truths as might serve again to unite and bring us together. Oh! keep us strictly careful, both of Peace and Truth. And as we humbly pray, that we may never give up thy saving Truths for Peace; so do we likewise, that we may never divide from each other, and be averse to Peace, when thy Holy Truths stand in no need thereof.
And whilst we labour under our unhappy Breaches; Let us not be wanting in any mutual Offices of Humanity, good Neighbourhood, or common Justice towards each other: Let us not fancy, that their being of different Opinions, or of different Churches from us, must put a stop to the Just Acts and Offices of Gratitude, and to the Remembrance of former kindness; or that they must give us a discharge, from any mutual Obligations of natural Kindred, or of civil Relations.
Especially, O! Merciful God, keep us from placing all Religion in the Notes of a Party. Let us not so over-rate the real, or fancied Virtues of our several Divisions, as to take up therewith; and become ourselves as culpable, for the Breach and allowed Neglect of some Duties, as we charge our Brethren to be, for the Breach of others. But whilst on all sides we are zealous in pursuing those points, wherein we differ; let us be zealous for others too, and not overlook, or lay aside the care of good Life, and of that common Religion, wherein we all agree, and which at last must deliver us all from thy Wrath, and prepare us for thine Everlasting Mercies, through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
O! Almighty Lord, under all these Persecutions which are sent to prove and purge us, have an especial care of the Bishops and Pastors of thy Church, who are set to take of thy People, and to defend thy cause, and fill their Hearts with the power of thy Spirit, and with all those Gifts and Graces, which are needful to maintain their own Standing, or prevent the Falls of others.
Make them clear Examples, O! God, of Holy Living, and of truly Christian and Righteous Suffering to thy Flock; setting before their Eyes the lively Draughts, and constant Practice of Faith and Patience, Meekness and Charity, and of a Heart mortified to this World, and full of the Thoughts and Hopes of a better.
Give them Grace, O! Lord, to watch over thy People, with willing Minds, and with unwearied Diligence. Oh! that they may Rule them prudently, and skilfully, as wise Guides: And feed them faithfully, as good Shepherds. Oh! that they may wholly apply themselves, to Preach thy Word, and to administer thy pure Worship and Sacrament, to comfort the Afflicted, to strengthen the Feeble-minded, to confirm those that Stand, and to raise up those that are fallen, to quicken the Indifference and Lukewarmness of some, and to curb and bridle the inordinate Heat, and undue Passions and Violence of others.
And let them not think of quitting the trust and Charge of Ministering to Souls, when the Wolf approacheth, or leave of caring for thy Flock, to take care of themselves: But keep them ever mindful, O! Holy Jesu, that thou art the true Shepherd who gavest thy Life for the Sheep; and that, as thy true Followers, and faithful Ministers, they must be diligent at such times, in Ministering to their wants, and attend upon the same at all hazards. Let them shew then, that they love thee, by feeding thy Sheep. Enable them to shew perfect Love, which casteth out Fear. And give them Grace, to speak thy word, and to do thy work, with Boldness and Uprightness; neither fearing the Faces of their Persecutors, nor tolerating, and much less; feeding the Diseases, or Vices of their Flocks; but remembering always, that in thy Church, they preside and Minster for thee; and as they, who are to give an Account for Souls.
Possess their Hearts, O! God, with such vigilant Care and Love for Souls, and Holy Zeal, and Godly Courage and Prudence, as is requisite for Men in their High Trusts and Stations, and under the present wants, and Difficulties of thy Church: And be with them in all they do, and in all they suffer for thy Cause, for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Amen.
Comfort up their Spirits also, O! Lord, with the visible Effects, and good Fruits of their Labours and Sufferings among thy People: But whatever success they meet withal, let them not desist from thy Service, nor fall to do thy Work negligently; but when there is the least appearance of their working good up others, let it however satisfy and support them, that they have thereby shown their Fidelity and Love to thee, and have delivered their own Souls.
And keep them from all vain janglings, O! thou Blessed Spirit of Love and Peace, and from falling into desires of vain-Glory, or Emulation among themselves. Let them not defile their own Spirits, or disparage thy Cause, by turning aside to vent human Passions, or to seek or serve any worldly ends. But in all their Labours and Sufferings for thy Church, help them to approve themselves pure and sincere, as Men, whose great care and chief business is to serve thee, and to watch for the Good of Souls.
And whilst they are watching for thy People, Lord, let thy good Providence watch over them. When thy Service, and the needs of Souls do most endanger and expose them, let them be safe in thy keeping. Put by the Malice and Machinations of their Enemies, and give them Patience and unwearied Perseverance, under all their Difficulties and Distresses: Support and Comfort them under the same at present, and turn them all in the end to the furtherance of thy Truth, and to the increase of their own Everlasting Peace and Happiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
O! Lord, whilst thou art trying us with Losses and Worldly Sorrows, make us easy under the same, and careful to bear them with Patience, and raised Affections. But let us not betake ourselves to Pride, and self-pleasing, and to feed those corrupt Passions, which our Afflictions should purge out, nor ever fall to seek or think of great things here for ourselves.
Oh! that our Tribulations may teach us to be humble, and to mortify our own Passions. Oh! that our worldly Sorrows may cure and turn us, from being any longer fond of this World, and from feeding ourselves with any vain and ensnaring Hopes or Desires thereof. And that whilst we are daily crossed in our Fleshly Desires, we may cease to be any longer bent upon our own Wills, and may in all things resign ourselves up to thine.
Let not our Persecutions, O! Gracious God, be lost upon us, nor let us be unprofitable Scholars in the School of Affliction: Let it not be justly chargeable on us, that Tribulations could not mend us, nor the fiery Trial resign our Spirits, and purge away our Dross. But bring us by our Sufferings, to know ourselves, and to set light by all Earthly things, and to take up with thee for our Portion, and with the Sure and Blessed Hopes of thine Everlasting Mercies, through the Merits and Mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Under all its Wants and Backslidings, Sorrows and Distresses, look thou upon thy Church, O! Lord, and support and deliver it. Many are they who Combine against it, and great is their Power, and Vigilant and Earnest is their Care and Endeavour, to suppress and destroy it. And against all their Assaults, it has no other Defence, but thy Grace and good Providence.
Do not thou forsake it then, O! God, for it flies to thee, and rests on thee alone for Succor. Maintain it, for it is thine own Cause. And if it be cast down, thine Enemies and theirs will triumph. Take the Matter therefore into thine Hand, for no other is sufficient for it, and thou art most concerned therein. Bring it safe through this Fiery Trial, and let it not be consumed thereby, but, as Gold is, only purged and purified of its Dross. Give it a Cure, O! Lord, of all its Errors and Impurities, and quietness in the End from Persecutions, and Grace not to grow careless, or be Corrupted by days of Ease; but to improve the same, in doing thee Honour and Service with more Freedom, and fewer Interruptions, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Blessed be thy Great and Glorious Name; O! Father of Mercies, and God of all Comforts, for the comfort of these days of ease, from our former Tribulations. Thou hast in great pity considered our Frailty and Weakness, and hath not suffered the Rod of the Persecutors to lie too heavy, or rest too long upon our Backs. Thou hast not been Deaf to our Desires when we called upon thee, nor suffered our Hopes in thy Gracious Promises to fail. Thou hast fulfilled thy Word unto thy Servants, who served and suffered for thee in Confidence thereof; and hast made the Wicked to cease from troubling us, and exchanged the Fiery Trial of their ungodly Violence, for the sweet and refreshing Comforts of this Rest and Peace.
O! Lord, let us never forget this great Mercy, nor abuse it. Let us not grow Careless or Corrupt by the Blessings of Peace, or run into Earthly Affections and Dependencies; and contract such Dross, as may need a second time to be brought through the Furnace. But keep us sober, and purged and purified in our Hearts and Minds; and maintain in us such a Godly Zeal, and watchful diligence under the same, as will make use of the blessed Opportunities of Peace, for going on with more constancy, and with less hindrance and disturbance in thy Service.
And make us learn, O! Gracious God, by our past Suffering, and Experience of thy Goodness, to keep improved in Faith and Patience. Having found thee so faithful in our necessity, give us Grace to rely upon thee. Let us not cast away our confidence, nor grow weary in well doing; knowing that in due time we shall reap, if we faint not. Oh! that the sweet Remembrance of thy Mercies may ever fill our Hearts with Love, and our Tongues with Praise. Oh! that it may make us careful in well doing, and confident of thy Faithfulness and Care over us, whilst we commit our Souls unto thy keeping, in holding to thy ways, through our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.