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in the partners and witnesses of our conversation; every degree of mutual abiding and conversing being a relation and an endearment: we are of the same household with God; he is with us in our natural actions, to preserve us; in our recreations, to restrain us; in our public actions, to applaud or reprove us; in our private, to observe us; in our sleeps, to watch by us; in our watchings, to refresh us: and if we walk with God in all his ways, as he walks with us in all ours, we shall find perpetual reasons to enable us to keep that rule of God, Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice." And this puts me in mind of a saying of an old religious person', "There is one way of overcoming our ghostly enemies; spiritual mirth, and a perpetual bearing of God in our minds." This effectively resists the devil, and suffers us to receive no hurt from him. 4. This exercise is apt also to enkindle holy desires of the enjoyment of God, because it produces joy, when we do enjoy him; the same desires that a weak man hath for a defender; the sick man, for a physician; the poor, for a patron; the child, for his father; the espoused lover, for her betrothed. 5. From the same fountain are apt to issue humility of spirit, apprehensions of our great distance and our great needs, our daily wants and hourly supplies, admiration of God's unspeakable mercies: it is the cause of great modesty and decency in our actions; it helps to recollection of mind, and restrains the scatterings and looseness of wandering thoughts; it establishes the heart in good purposes, and leadeth on to perseverance; it gains purity and perfection (according to the saying of God to Abraham, "walk before me, and be perfect"), holy fear, and holy love, and indeed every thing, that pertains to holy living: when we see ourselves placed in the eye of God, who sets us on work and will reward us plenteously, to serve him with an eye-service is very pleasing; for he also sees the heart: and the want of this consideration was declared to be the cause, why Israel sinned so grievously, "for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth notm." "therefore the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness"." What a child would do, in the eye of his father; and a pupil, before his tutor; and a wife, in the presence of her husband; and a servant, in
In vita S. Antho. m Psal. x. 11. n Ezek. ix. 9.
the sight of his master; let us always do the same: for we are made a spectacle to God, to angels, and to men; we are always in the sight and presence of the all-seeing and almighty God, who also is to us a father and a guardian, a husband and a lord.
Prayers and devotions, according to the religion and purposes of the foregoing considerations.
For grace to spend our time well.
O eternal God, who, from all eternity, dost behold and love thy own glories and perfections infinite, and hast created me to do the work of God after the manner of men, and to serve thee in this generation, and according to my capacities; give me thy grace, that I may be a curious and prudent spender of my time, so as I may best prevent, or resist, all temptation, and be profitable to the Christian commonwealth, and, by discharging all my duty, may glorify thy name. Take from me all slothfulness, and give me a diligent and an active spirit, and wisdom to choose my employment; that I may do works proportionable to my person, and to the dignity of a Christian, and may fill up all the spaces of my time with actions of religion and charity; that, when the devil assaults me, he may not find me idle; and my dearest Lord, at his sudden coming, may find me busy in lawful, necessary, and pious actions; improving my talent entrusted to me by thee, my Lord; that I may enter into the joy of my Lord, to partake of his eternal felicities, even for thy mercy's sake, and for my dearest Saviour's sake. Amen.
Here follows the devotion of ordinary days; for the right employment of those portions of time, which every day must allow for religion.
The first Prayers in the morning, as soon as we are dressed. Humbly and reverently compose yourself, with heart lift-up to God, and your head bowed, and meekly kneeling upon your knees, say the Lord's Prayer: after which, use the following collects, or as many of them, as you shall choose.
"Our Father, which art in heaven," &c.
An Act of Adoration, being the song, that the angels sing in heaven.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come: heaven and earth, angels and men, the air and the sea, give glory, and honour, and thanks to him, that sitteth on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever P. All the blessed spirits and souls of the righteous cast their crowns before the throne, and worship him, that liveth for ever and ever 9. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created. Great and marvellous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty: just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints'. Thy wisdom is infinite, thy mercies are glorious; and I am not worthy, O Lord, to appear in thy presence, before whom the angels hide their faces. O holy and eternal Jesus, lamb of God, who wert slain from the beginning of the world, thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every nation, and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign with thee for ever. Blessing, honour, glory, and power be unto him, that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever. Amen.
An Act of Thanksgiving, being the song of David, for the morning.
Sing praises unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks to him for a remembrance of his holiness. For his wrath endureth but the twinkling of an eye: and in his pleasure is life: heaviness may endure for a night; but joy cometh in the morning. Thou, Lord, hast preserved me this night from the violence of the spirits of darkness, from all sad casualties and evil accidents, from the wrath, which I have évery day deserved: thou hast brought my soul out of hell; thou hast kept my life from them that go down into the pit: thou hast shewed me marvellous great kindness, and hast blessed me for ever; the greatness of thy glory reacheth unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. Therefore shall every good man sing of thy praise without ceasing. O my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. Hallelujah.
• Rev. xi. 17. P And v. 10. 13.
4 And iv. 10.
And xv. 3.
An Act of Oblation, or presenting ourselves to God for the day. Most holy and eternal God, lord and sovereign of all the creatures, I humbly present to thy Divine Majesty, myself, my soul and body, my thoughts and my words, my actions and intentions, my passions and my sufferings, to be disposed by thee to thy glory; to be blessed by thy providence; to be guided by thy counsel; to be sanctified by thy Spirit; and, afterwards, that my body and soul may be received into glory: for nothing can perish, which is under thy custody; and the enemy of souls cannot devour, what is thy portion, nor take it out of thy hands. This day, O Lord, and all the days of my life, I dedicate to thy honour, and the actions of my calling, to the uses of grace, and the religion of all my days to be united to the merits and intercession of my holy Saviour, Jesus; that, in him and for him, I may be pardoned and accepted. Amen.
An Act of Repentance or Contrition.
For, as for me, I am not worthy to be called thy servant; much less am I worthy to be thy son; for I am the vilest of sinners and the worst of men; a lover of the things of the world, and a despiser of the things of God; proud and envious, lustful and intemperate, greedy of sin, and impatient of reproof; desirous to seem holy, and negligent of being so; transported with interest; fooled with presumption and false principles; disturbed with anger, with a peevish and unmortified spirit, and disordered by a whole body of sin and death. Lord, pardon all my sins for my sweetest Saviour's sake: thou, who didst die for me, holy Jesus, save me and deliver me: reserve not my sins to be punished in the day of wrath and eternal vengeance; but wash away my sins, and blot them out of thy remembrance, and purify my soul with the waters of repentance, and the blood of the cross; that, for what is past, thy wrath may not come out against me; and, for the time to come, I may never provoke thee to anger or to jealousy. O just and dear God, be pitiful and gracious to thy servant. Amen.
The Prayer, or Petition.
Bless me, gracious God, in my calling to such purposes, as thou shalt choose for me, or employ me in: relieve me in all my sadnesses; make my bed in my sickness; give me patience in my sorrows, confidence in thee, and grace to call upon thee in all temptations. O be thou my guide in all my actions, my protector in all dangers: give me a healthful body, and a clear understanding; a sanctified and just, a charitable and humble, a religious and a contented spirit: let not my life be miserable and wretched; nor my name stained with sin and shame; nor my condition lifted up to a tempting and dangerous fortune; but let my condition be blessed, my conversation useful to my neighbours, and pleasing to thee; that, when my body shall lie down in its bed of darkness, my soul may pass into the regions of light, and live with thee for ever, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
An act of Intercession or Prayer for others, to be added to this or any other office, as our devotion, or duty, or their needs, shall determine us.
O God of infinite mercy, who hast compassion on all men, and relievest the necessities of all, that call to thee for help, hear the prayers of thy servant, who is unworthy to ask any petition for himself, yet, in humility and duty, is bound to pray for others.
For the Church.
O let thy mercy descend upon the whole church; preserve her in truth and peace, in unity and safety, in all storms, and against all temptations and enemies; that she, offering to thy glory the never-ceasing sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving, may advance the honour of her Lord, and be filled with his Spirit, and partake of his glory. Amen.
For the King.
In mercy, remember the king; preserve his person in health and honour; his crown, in wealth and dignity; his kingdoms, in peace and plenty; the churches under his protection, in