The Royal Sufferer.


Written for the Use of a Royal, tho' Afflicted FAMILY.

By T—K—D. D.

Printed in the Year 1699.


Great Sir!

PErmit me, I beseech You, to lay at Your Royal Feet this small Manual, which has no other design but the Supporting of Your Sacred Majesty, and Your Faithful Friends and Adherents under those Cala­mities which Your Majesty has born with so much Magnanimity, Patience, and Christian Resolution, that it shews You to be the Heir not only of Your Royal Father's Crown, but of his Afflictions and Suffer­ings; Exerting the like Constancy and Cou­rage under them, as that Blessed Martyr did. 'Tis true, indeed, Your Royal Father was a Protestant, and Liv'd and Dy'd in and for that Profession; and I cou'd heartily wish that Your Majesty was so too: For then we might quickly hope to see an end of our pre­sent [Page] Miseries in a short time. But tho' so great a Blessing be deny'd us, yet shall my Loyalty and Duty approve it self the same, as if You were [...]; for I cannot conceive (what ever some may think) that Your Majesty's being of another Perswasion than my self, can discharge me from my Allegi­ance to You. And I hope Your Majesty will not the less regard what I have here Writ­ten, because I profess my self, as I always did, to be a Member and an Vnworthy Son of the Church of England: For as it has always been my Iudgement, that he that Be­lieves, Lives, and Prays, according to the Rules that Christ has given us, is a True Christian and a happy Man; so I believe that the next way to Heaven is not to look after Controversie, but Conscience; and to spend our Zeal and Time not in being Con­tentious, but Religious: And therefore where­soever I live in the Christian World, whi­ther East or West, it is not my being a good Scholar that will make me happy, but a good Christian; not a Learned Disputant for Christ, but a Devout Servant to him: Nor the being of such or such a Party or side in [Page] the Church, but a True Member of his Body.

AND if Your Majesty wou'd Vouchsafe to bear with me a little, I cou'd easily de­monstrate this to be the most Safe Way: For, if I am Regenerated by the holy Spirit, and made a Christian by true Baptism, believing the Scriptures; can it with any Colour of Reason, be Suppos'd that I shall suffer Dam­nation for not equally Believing Traditions? And if I make Conscience to serve and Wor­ship GOD, can it be thought I shall Perish for not Worshiping Images? If I pray to GOD, as our Blessed Saviour hath taught me, saying, Our Father, &c. Who can think I should incur the Sentence of Dam­nation for not Invocating Saints and Angels? And if I receive the holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, in both kindes, according to Christ's Institution, as even the Roman Church Confesses, who can believe I shall be damned, because the Cup is taken away by a Council?

THESE things I urge with all humili­ty, only to let Your Majesty see what reason I have to believe the Protestant Religion to be the most Safe Way: And if through the [Page] Divine Blessing they should be made Effica­cious, to cause Your Majesty to Return to, and Embrace the Religion professed even to Death, by Your Royal Father, for whom I am sure You have so justly a great Venera­tion, it wou'd be the Ioy and Rejoycing of all Your People; and wou'd open a Door of hope to 'em, even in this Valley of Achor. But if for our Sins, we shall still be depriv'd of so great a Blessing, it is yet our Duty to submit to the Soveraign Will of our Almighty Maker, and to continue our Loyalty to Your Majesty, praying, That the Divine Good­ness would graciously support You under those great and many Troubles wherewith it has pleased Him to Exercise You here; and at last to Translate You to a brighter Crown, even a Crown of Immarcessible Glory. Which is the Daily and Earnest Prayer of,

Your Majesties most Loyal, Faithful and Obedient Subject and Servant, T. K.


HAVING with grief of Heart, observed that Uninterrupted Se­ries of Afflictions that has now for some Years attended one of the most Royal Families in Europe (to which I have the Honour to be particularly re­lated, and thereby am involved in their common Fate, my self having run the same Risque with that of my Royal Master, and suffered the loss of all as well as He) I have thought it my Duty, by the Ensuing Meditations, to cast my Mite into the Royal Treasury, and by considering the Vicissitude and Un­certainty of all Sublunary States and Things, to offer some Support under that weight of Sorrow, which a Mind less Magnanimous than that of our Great Master, would have sunk under long ago.

AND since the Holy Scriptures do inform us, that Afflictions rise not out of [Page 8] the Ground, neither does Trouble spring out of the Dust, it will not be unnecessary to inquire into the Cause from whence our great and sore Calamities arise; for as in the Case of a Diseased Body, to know the Cause from whence the Morbifick Affect proceeds, is accounted half the Cure; so if by a thorow search we can come to know the Cause why it has pleas'd the Soveraign Majesty of Heaven to Bring and to Continue these Calami­ries upon us, it may, (accompany'd with the Divine Blessing) go a great way to­wards the Removal of them: There be­ing nothing more certain, than that the way to have our Offended Maker Re­concil'd unto us, is, To Search our Hearts, and try our Ways, and to turn unto Him against whom we have sinned; and so may we hope He will have Mercy upon us, and say to the Proud Waves of Affliction that have so long been rolling over our heads, Thus far have ye gone, but ye shall proceed no further, and here shall your proud Waves be stopped: For the same GOD that puts a stop to the Raging of the Sea, [Page 9] can soon put a Period to the Madness of the People, and bring back our Cap­tivity as the Streams in the South.

NOW since the Loss of what we formerly Enjoy'd, is that which makes us the most Uneasie, and gives us the great­est Disquiet, I will first Endeavour to re­move it, by giving you a Scheme of the Vanity and Emptiness of all those things; and consequently that it is not worth our while to afflict our selves for the Loss of that which is so Fading and Transitory in its own Nature, and when Enjoy'd in its greatest Advantages, adds so very little to our happiness: Which things are pro­perly reducible to three Heads, viz. Honours, Riches, and Pleasures, which I shall distinctly consider in Meditations upon each. And that what I write may be the more effectual to the End for which it is written, I shall Address my self to the Divine Majesty for a Blessing thereupon.


O Most Gracious and Blessed GOD, who art the Source and Fountain of all Blessings, without whose Gracious In­fluence the best of all our Performances will neither bring glory to thee, nor Profit to our selves, Look down, we pray thee, in Mercy upon us, and let this Work be so attended with thy Blessing, that it may be Efficacious through thy Grace, to take off our Hearts and Affections from the love of those things of which thou hast justly depriv'd us for our Sins; that so we may now with more earnestness and intenseness of Soul, seek af­ter those things that cannot be taken from us; to which end, we pray thee, shew us the emptiness of all present things, whether they be Honours, Riches, or Pleasures; and that Thou only art that chief Good which alone can satisfie our Souls: Hear us, O Lord, and help us, for Iesus Christ his sake: And let these Words of our Mouths and Meditations of our Hearts, be accept­able in thy sight, O LORD our GOD and our Redeemer.

Meditation I.
Of the Vanity and Vncertainty of Honour.

THERE is certainly nothing so convincing as our own Experi­ence; and if we truly consider it, it is no small Advantage that we reap even by our Losses, if thereby we come to be convinc'd of the Vanity of that which we have lost. For such is the Deceitfulness of our Hearts, and the Corruption of our Natures, that while we are in the Posses­sion of any outward Good, we are loth to let it go; and tho' we find no real Good in it, we are yet so much pleas'd with it, as to Endeavour with all our Might to retain it: And let us hear from the Ministers of GOD's Word never so long and learned Harrangues of the Vani­ty and Uncertainty of them, we are un­willing to believe them. But when the Storm of GOD's Anger is come upon us, and the Tempest of his Wrath has cover'd us, and taken from us, our King, our [Page 12] Queen, our Princes and Nobles, all our pleasant and delectable things; we by our own Experience come to see that Honour is but an Empty Puff of Air, that it is only Vox & preterea nihil, a Voice and nothing else; and that all is Vanity and Vexation of Spirit.

BUT to come a little more particu­larly to shew the Vanity of Honour: What Certainty is there in that which consists in Popular Applause, and depends on the breath of the Vulgar? Well may it be compar'd to Wind, for with every Wind it changes: Did not the common People change their Notes like the Wind, even to our Saviour himself? How did they cry Hosamna one Day, and the next Crucifie him? Now the Blessed Jesus is esteem'd a Prophet by 'em, and anon re­puted a Samaritan that hath a Devil. Nor had his Followers less Experience of the Inconstancy of the People: When St. Paul escap'd Shipwrack, and was cast upon the Island call'd Melita, a Viper fasten'd on his hand, which made the People take him for a Murderer; but [Page 13] when they saw him shake it off, with­out doing him any harm, they chang'd their Minds and said he was a God: And the same St. Paul, accompanied with St. Barnabas, were at another time first honoured with Paganish Devotion, as tho' they had been Iupiter and Mercury, and soon after stoned, as tho they were Malefactors. Again, St. Paul and Silas were one time imprison'd in the lowest Dungeon at Philippos, and afterwards Honour'd and Ador'd of the same Goa­ler that was their Executioner: Even as our Blessed Lord was honour'd of the same Iudas that was his Betrayer, and of the same Pilate that was his Condemner. How lamentable was the Case of Zedi­kiah, who of King of Iudah, was made a Captive to the King of Babylon, and put in Chains; he had indeed for a short time his Eyes spared, but it was only that he might behold the Dreadful Slaughter of his Children, and then the Light of his Eyes was obscur'd in utter Darkness: O lamentable Vicissitude of Worldly Ho­nours! When Crowns and Scepters are [Page 14] tumbled under Foot! And Royal Blood is shed like Water on the Ground, that cann't be gather'd up again! How soon was Pharoah tumbled from his Trium­phal Chariot, (when he pursu'd the Israelites) and was made Food for Fishes, and all his Pomp lay buried in the Sea! The like unhappy, but just Fate, befel Adonibezeck, who from a great and a Puissant King, was disgracefully mangled in his Hands and Toes, and forc'd to Eat such Crumbs as fell under the Table, like a Dog. And Agag likewise, ano­ther Royalet, was hewn in Pieces like an Ox, even when he thought the bitterness of Death was past. And Iezabel (who well deserv'd her fate) tho' a great Queen her self, and a Kings Daughter, was Eaten up and gnaw'd by Dogs like Carrion. Nay, the great Nebuchadnezzar, that Uni­versal Monarch of Chaldea, whilst he was hugging of himself in his own Hap­piness, and Contemplating the Glory of his Kingdom, and the honour of his Ma­jesty, was turn'd out of his Pallace, and forc'd to graze like a brute Beast in his [Page 15] own Park. See here the Instability of Worldly Honour! And what prodigious changes a moment can produce! When from the highest Pinacle of Glory, a Mighty King whom all the World obey'd, is turn'd a grazing with the very Beasts!

NOR do we find that prophane Histo­ries are wanting in producing Numerous Examples of the Uncertainty of World­ly Greatness, and how Airy a Nothing the Breath of Honour is: Of which one fatal Instance is that of the great Bajazet the Emperour of the Turks, who like a Wolf, or some wild Beast of Prey, was carried up and down by Conquering Tamberlain, in an Iron Cage, and expos'd to that Contempt which he thought worse than Death, and therefore to re­lease himself, he knock'd out his Brains against the Bars of the Cage in which they kept him. Valerian the Emperour was another Instance likewise, who as a Slave and Vassal to Sapores King of Per­sia, was forc'd to hold his Stirrop whilst he got up on Horseback, as tho' he had been Pope. And even amongst Christi­ans [Page 16] Frederick the Third, one of the best of Emperours, was Trod upon by Alex­ander the Sixth, one of the worst of Popes, in St. Mark's Church in Venice, as if he had been an Asp or a Basilisk, the Pope most Blasphemously using these Words, Thou shalt tread upon the Lyon and the Adder, the Young Lyon and the Dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Nor is it without a just Compassion to be re­membred, that the Emperour Mauritius had his Empress and his Children slain before his Eyes, by that Bloody Phocas, his Servant, who, after he had slain his Master, and usurp'd his Empire, was Countenanc'd in all his Villany by the Pope, because he stil'd him Univer­sal Bishop. This sudden change of For­tune likewise, befel the Aged Priam King of Troy, and Palaeologas the Emperour of Constantinople, when those two Famous Cities were destroy'd, the one by the Greeks, the other by the Turks: These and many more Great Ones in the World, have been suddenly thrown down from the Top of all their Worldly Glory, to the [Page 17] most Abject Condition; and cast, as was threatned to Capernaum, from the Heaven of highest Exaltation, to the Hell of lowest Confusion.

BUT we have no need to cross the Seas for Examples of this nature; our own Chronicles afford us fatal Instances: Witness Edward and Richard the Second, both Kings of England; who found by a too sad Experience, there was but a small distance between the Prisons and the Graves of Princes.—And to come nearer to our Times, I need not question but there are many still alive, who can remember Charles the First, the Potent Monarch of Three Opulent and once Flourishing Kingdoms, O'ercome by His Rebellious Barbarous Subjects, and shed­ding, at His own Pallace-Gates, His Royal Blood upon a Scaffold by the Hangman's Hands.—This is indeed too sad an instance of the Uncertainty of Worldly Honours! To see the Foun­tain of it thus barbarously Butcher'd un­der a pretence of Justice, as if he had not been the Lord's Anointed! The [Page 18] very thoughts on't fills my Soul with hor­ror, so that my Trembling Hand can hardly hold my Pen; and I cou'd even wish my Head were Waters, and my Eyes a Fountain of Tears, that I might weep Day and Night, for the Untimely Tra­gick Fall of this Illustrious Martyr; and well may He be call'd so, since He Dy'd for His so firm Adherence to the Church of England: Yet neither the Sacredness of his Majesty, which in His lowest Ebb of Fortune, shin'd brighter than the Dia­dem He wore, nor all His God-like In­nocence, were able to preserve Him from being made a Victim for His People; nor hinder the Breath of our Nostrils, the Anointed of the Lord, from falling into the hands of the vilest of Men. Well therefore might Solomon say, There is one Event both to the Righteous and the Wicked; and that no man can know Good or Evil by any thing that is before him in this Life: For we daily see the Race is not to the Swift, nor the Battel to the Strong, nor Bread to the Wise, nor Riches to Men of Vnderstan­ding: But Time and Chance happens unto all.

[Page 19] BUT whither has my Grief Trans­ported me? The consideration of the Father's Death, has kept me from Deplo­ring the unhappy Fate of His Son, my Royal Master; who is yet a fresher In­stance of the Mutability of Worldly Ho­nours; who from all the Pomp and Splen­der of a Crown, with which we have seen His Royal Head incircled, has been forc'd to seek for shelter in a Foreign Country, and live upon the Alms of others: And that the Church of England, (who until now has had no Blot upon her) shou'd be concern'd in such a Revolution, even that Church for whom His Royal Father dy'd a Martyr, is that which most of all amazes me.

BUT this abundantly confirms this Truth, That no Estate of Man on this side Heaven, is free from Mutability and Changes; and sufficiently shews how vain a thing it is for any Man to place his Felicity and Happiness in Eminency of Dignity, and high Exaltation, since in the Twinkling of an Eye all humane Glory may be laid in the Dust, and the [Page 20] Sun of Honour either Set, or Eclips'd, or Clouded in Ignominy and Disgrace; as the hot gleaming Sun oft turns into a sudden Storm; like the Honour of Proud Haman, that was taken from Fea­sting with the King and Queen, and im­mediately hang'd upon the Gallows.

AND as the slipperiness of Honour is always an Allay to the Enjoying of it, and extreamly debases and lessens its value; so likewise is the little satisfa­ction it gives us when we do Enjoy it: What Content did it give Haman, tho' he was the Kings peculiar Favorite, and that his Seat was set above all the Princes of Persia, and reverenc'd and bow'd to, by all the Kings Servants? So far was he from being Contented with the Ho­nour that he had, that he never Enjoy'd it; it availed him nothing, because Mor­decay the Iew did not bow to him and give him reverence. Honour is very apt (unless it be kept within due bounds by supernatural Grace) to puff up the Minds of Men, so that they often forget both God and themselves; They are ready [Page 21] to think of themselves above what they ought, when they find that all Mens knees are bowing down to 'em. Herod found Honour a very fatal thing to him; when the People honour'd him, and cry'd, 'Tis the Voice of a God! He was so impious to take that Honour to himself, and gave not God the glory; and there­fore God soon made him know he was a mortal Man; for he was immediately smitten with Worms and Dy'd, and all his Honour was cover'd with the great­est Ignominy. It indeed renders a Man more unsafe, for the higher any Man is plac'd, the more Enemies he has, and the more he is liable to be attack'd; yea, the more obnoxious he is to those that seek his ruine. The lofty Oaks are sooner ruin'd by the stroke of Thunder, than the humble Shrubs: He that stands up­on a Pinacle, tho' he may be gaz'd at by the Crow'd, stands more unsafe than he that walks upon the ground, and passes unobserv'd. Solomon tells us, That Ho­nour is not seemly for a Fool, and yet it of­tentimes becomes their Portion. When [Page 22] Men are laden with much Honour, they have need to be well Balasted with Wis­dom, lest they be Over-set. Besides, what Satisfaction is there in those things of which we can have no Assurance of En­joyment? What Comfort can a Man take in a House, when he is but a Tenant at Will, and may be turn'd out, at the Plea­sure of his Landlord, at an Hours war­ning? What Content has he that Pitch­eth his Tent on the Sand, ready to be wash'd away with the rolling of every Sea? And what greater certainty is there in Honours, which like the Spokes of a Wheel, are now Uppermost, and imme­diately after at the Bottom? How often have we seen the Sun shine bright and gloriously, when the next moment, thro' the interposing of some envious Cloud, 'tis muffl'd up in Darkness. There also is another thing that makes Honour less Honourable; and that is, when it is not honourably obtain'd; for if Honour be worth any thing, it is when 'tis the Guer­don and Reward of Vertue: 'Twas this that made at first a Difference among [Page 23] Men: Those that had done great things for the Publick, and deserrv'd well of their Country, had a peculiar Mark of Honour put upon them, as the just Reward of their Merits; and this it was that made 'em truly Honourable. But afterwards, as Men de­generated more and more, so Honour be­came Mercenary, and thereby lost its Va­lue: And that indeed has been the chiefest cause of Envy's Lacquying after it: For when Men were preferr'd above their Brethren, whose Worth and Merit came far short of theirs, they straight way En­vy'd 'em, as Men unworthy of the Ho­nour they possess'd: What Honour can we think that Man deseves, who by Extorti­on and Oppression has amass'd together a vast sum of Money, and with that Money purchas'd Honour? It must surely be an ill Purchase that's encumber'd with a Curse; and that Honour cannot but prove ruinous, that's built on Ruines.

I do confess I have been much affected, when I have consider'd how some Per­sons very meanly born, Sons of the Earth, and taken from the Dunghil, have been [Page 24] rais'd from their Original Dust, and set up with Princes: Such were Maximinus, Probus, Aurelius, Pertinax, and others; who from common Souldiers became Emperours; Iephthah and Abimelech, tho' Bastards, were both Renowned Ge­nerals, and famous for their Arms; and the Norman Duke William, whom we call William the Conquerour, was one of the same Classis. So likewise Peter Comestor, Gratian the Collector of the Decretals, Lumbard the Master of the Sentences, first Founder of School Divinity, were all the Bastards of Nuns, and all Famous for Arts: Agathocles was the Son of a Potter, Abdolominus a Gardiner, Iphi­crates and Marius meanly born, and yet came to be Kings of Sicily, Syria, and great Potentates. And what shall we say to Saul and David, of whom Sacred Writ tells us, His adde Saulum et Davi­dem, Asinas et Oves passenter ad Regnum pervenienies; the one was taken from seeking Asses, and the other from follow­ing of Sheep, and advanc'd to the King­dom, 1 Sam. 9. and 16. How strange [Page 25] was the Exaltation of Cosmus de Medices Of Florence, whom Machiavel in his Flo­rentine History tells us, liv'd all his Youth obscure and miserable; when on a sud­den the Sun of his Glory shin'd forth, as from under a cloud? How was Huni­ades fetch'd out of a Prison, and Henry the Third, of Portugal, out of a Poor Monastry, to be Crowned Kings?

THESE are so many Instances of the great Uncertainty that all Men meet with here in their Pursuit of Honour: Some are the Favourites of Providence, and from a mean Condition rais'd to the highest Pinacle of Worldly Glory; whilst others from the Summit of their hopes, have in a Moments time been thrown into Despair, and all the glittering Bright­ness of their Crowns have only serv'd to light 'em to Destruction.

AND yet tho' most Men so unwea­riedly pursue this gaudy Idol Honour, let us a little now consider what 'tis they are the better for't. And one would think that those whom Nature sends in­to the World with Crowns upon their [Page 26] Heads, and Scepters in their Hands, that from their Birth are plac'd in such a Sphere of Glory that they have nothing more to wish for, have all the cause that may be to esteem themselves happy: And yet if we Enquire of them, whether the Dignities that they Enjoy, and the high Station they are in, has made 'em happy? They'll tell us the quite contra­ry. No Good whatever can make a Man happy, without it be permanent and last­ing; and whatever 'tis that is not so, must needs leave the Soul short of Hap­piness: And that Honours, I mean Worldly Honours, are not permanent, is what I have already prov'd by many, and some too fatal Instances: And yet this is not all, for while they do Enjoy 'em, they find their Crowns are lin'd with Care, and sometimes made of Thorns; nay, oftentimes the Scepter that they Weild proves but a Reed, and can­not be depended on. And can we think such Crowns and Scepters can Cure the Chagrin of the Mind, or keep off Cares and Griefs from hovering about 'em? [Page 27] No, on the Contrary, it is the Crown that brings 'em, and the Scepter that at­tracts 'em. O Crown, said the great Per­sian Monarch, He that did but know how heavy thou sittest on the Head, would hardly take thee up, tho' he shou'd meet thee on his way. This Prince gave Law to the whole World, and each Man's Fortune was what he pleas'd to make it; and there­fore to appearance cou'd give to every Man Content; and yet he here confesses he wanted it himself. And what better Account can the rest give us, if they will speak their Minds Impartially? And here I will not ask of Dionysias the Ty­rant of Sicily, who was more content with a handful of Twigs, to Whip the little Children of Corinth in a School, than with the Scepter wherewith he had beaten all Sicily: Nor will we ask of Sylla, who having robb'd the common wealth of Rome, (which had her self be­fore robb'd the whole World) never found means of Rest in himself: Nor, to come nearer home, will we Enquire of Charles the Royal Martyr, the lustre of [Page 28] whose Crown did only serve to Tempt his Enemies, not only to take it from his Head, but even to take his Head off too; and whose Scepter was too weak to over­come the Force of Armed Rebels: Nor will we ask of his two Exil'd Sons, of which the Eldest endur'd twelve years of Banishment ere he Enjoy'd his Crown; and he who still survives, warn'd by his Royal Father's Tragick End, was forc'd to fly for Refuge to a Neighbouring Monarch, whose Generous Goodness has ever since supported him. It is of none of these Unhappy Princes that we will ask what Happiness they found in Ho­nours: But surely Solomon may very well be Esteem'd Capable of giving the best Answer to this Question; who had ar­riv'd to all the Honour that the World is capable of giving, both with respect to his singular Wisdom, which without doubt made him a very competent Judge of this matter; as well as for that vast Af­fluence of Riches which he had amass'd together; and more especially for that largeness of heart he had to make use of [Page 29] it: And yet this is the Summa Totalis of all his Honour and Glory, That all is Vanity and Vexation of Spirit.

BUT because we will have more than one Mans Opinion, let us ask of the Em­perour Augustus, who Peaceably possest the whole World, and we shall hear him bewailing his Life past, and among infinite Toils wish for the Rest of the meanest of his Subjects, esteeming that a happy Day that would ease him of his insupportable Greatness, and suffer him to live quietly among the least.

AND if we Enquire of Tiberias his Successor, he will tell us, That he holds the Empire as a Wolf by the Ears; and that, if he cou'd do it without danger of be­ing bitten, he wou'd gladly let it go: Com­plaining of Fortune for lifting him so high, and then taking away the Ladder that he cou'd not get down.

IF we ask Dioclesian, a Prince of great Wisdom and Vertue, in the Opi­nion of the World; he will prefer his voluntary Banishment at Solona, before all the Roman Empire.

[Page 30] AND, to conclude this Head, if we Enquire of the Emperour Charles the Fifth, who is generally esteem'd the most happy that hath liv'd these many Ages, He will Curse his Conquests, Victories and Triumphs; and not be asham'd to own, That he hath felt more good in one day of his Solitude, than in all his Triumphant Life.

NOW how can we imagine those happy in this imaginary Honour and Greatness, who think themselves unhap­py in it? And especially, since they profess that Happiness consists in being Lesser, and not Greater. In a word, whatever Happiness Honour and Ambi­ton promiseth, it is nothing else but suf­fering of much Evil to get more. Men think by daily climbing higher to make themselves happy, and yet the height whereunto they so painfully aspire, is the height of Misery it self.

BUT having thus consider'd both the Uncertainty and Vanity of Worldly Ho­nour, it is necessary to see what use is to be made of it, before we proceed any further.

The Soul's Expostulation.

AND now, O my Soul, why shou'dst thou Disquiet thy self for the loss of that which is not worth the keep­ing? If the Possession of it cou'd add nothing to thy Happiness, what hast thou to complain of, now 'tis lost? Is it not better to enquire what just Title thou hadst to it, than to repine at the loss of it? If thy Honour was the Reward of Vertue, it is still thy own; for whilst the Cause continues, (which is Vertue) the Effect cann't cease; and then thou hast no reason to complain: But if thy Ho­nour came from any other Cause, thou truly never hadst any real Honour, it only was an empty Name, and nothing else: For it is Vertue is the Life and Soul of Honour. Thou oughtest therefore, O my Soul, to look well before thou leap'st into the Chair of Honour; or else the higher thou climbest, the lower thou fallest: If Vertue prefer thee, then Vertue will pre­serve thee: But if Gold or Favour do [Page 32] advance thee, thy Honour is but pinn'd upon the Wheel of Fortune, and when that Wheel shall turn, thy Honour falls, and thou remain'st an everlasting monu­ment of thy own Ambitious Folly. If therefore thou desire, O my Soul, to pur­chase Honour with thy Wealth, consider first how that became thine: If thy La­bour got it, let thy Wisdom keep it; if Oppression found it, let Repentance re­store it; and if thy Parents left it, let thy Vertues deserve it. For if thou art a Pa­lace, Honour (like the Sun-beams) will make thee more Glorious; but if thou art a Dunghil, the Sun may shine upon thee, but it cannot sweeten thee: Thy Prince may give thee honour, but not make thee honourable. The best way therefore, O my Soul, is to despise that empty Nothing which the World calls Honour; and seek after that Honour which none can Rob thee of, or take away; and that is, in a word, to seek the Honour which GOD gives: For they that honour Him, He has promis'd to honour; whereas they that despise Him shall be lightly esteemed.


O Almighty and most gracious Lord God, who alone rulest in the King­doms of Men, and sufferest one to be plucked down, and another to be set up, as best seemeth good in thy sight: Thou givest, and thou takest away, blessed be thy holy Name for ever. O Lord be pleased in Mer­cy to look down upon an unworthy Sinner now before thee; and graciously Support me under the present Dispensation of thy Providence, and quiet my Soul under thy Wise and Soveraign Disposal of [...] Affairs; and make me willing to suffer whatever it shall please thee to inflict upon me; O Lord, make me sensible that thou hast dealt fa­vourably with me, and hast punish'd me less than mine Iniquities deserved: I do confess I have been too much puffed up with that Honour which comes from Man, which therefore I am justly deprived of; and O that now thou wouldst help me to take shame to my self, and henceforth to see after that Honour which comes from God only. That [Page 34] so unfainedly turning to thee by true Con­trition and Amendment of Life, Thou also mayst graciously return unto me, with Mer­cy and with Loving-kindness. Hear, O Lord, and help, and Answer, for the sake of Iesus Christ thy blessed Son, and my a­lone Saviour: To whom, with thee, O Fa­ther, and the holy Spirit, be ascribed all Honour, and Glory, and Power, henceforth and for ever more. Amen. Our Father, &c.

Meditation II.
On the Vncertainty of Riches.

THERE is nothing in the World more certain than the Uncertain­ty of Riches; therefore it is that the A­postle St. Paul calls 'em Vncertain Riches, bidding us not to trust in Vncertain Ri­ches, but in the Living GOD. And tho' there be many in the World that make Wings for Riches, I mean, that Study and Contrive how to spend it, as think­they shall never be poor; yet they need [Page 35] not be so much concern'd about that, and might well save themselves that Labour, for whether they make them Wings or no, Solomon tells us that Riches will make themselves Wings, and fly away; yes, says he, they will fly so far as never to return any more, for they will fly as an Eagle towards Heaven: Riches are such Vola­tile things, as he compares them to Non­Entities; Wilt thou, says he, set thy Heart on that which is not? Riches are like Quicksilver, so Volatile, there's no fixing of 'em; for they fly away, when their Possessors think themselves as sure of 'em (having them close Prisoners in Bags and Bolts, under Lock and Key) as the Ro­mans thought themselves of the Goddess Victoria, when they clipt her Wings, and Wall'd her within their City. And tho' in this respect also our own Experience is more convincing than a Thousand Wit­nesses, yet will it not be amiss to recite some Examples of the Uncertainty and Emptiness of Worldly Riches; and the rather, that we may see there is nothing has befallen us in the late Revolution, [Page 36] but what has befallen others in former times, who have been better than we: Now that we are Try'd in the Furnace of Affliction, we may have good hopes of coming forth like Gold, refined and made better; but if we faint in this Day of our Adversity, it will argue our Strength is but small.

AND first, The Example of Iob is Illustrious, who was not more Eminent for his Riches than his Piety, which was so very remarkable, that he was the Non­such of his Age, the very boast of Hea­ven: Hast thou considered my Servant Job, says the Almighty, that there is none like him, a Perfect and an Vpright Man, one that Feareth God, and Escheweth Evil? What Man cou'd have a fairer Character, especially considering who it was that gave it? And yet this holy Iob, this Fa­vourite of Heaven, was deprived in one Day, Nay in one Hour, of such an Estate, (besides his Children, which were more dear to him than all the rest) in Oxen, Camels, Sheep and Moveables, as the greatest Man in the East did not possess [Page 37] the like: And yet Iob never murmur'd at his Loss, but only made this Inference from it, Naked we came into the World, and Naked shall we go out again: The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, and blessed be the Name of the Lord. There is at this Day an Illustrious Instance in the World, that has well near Equaliz'd Iob in his Afflictions: God grant that he may do it in his Patience and his Pie­ty; and then we may all hope for the like Issue.

BUT to Enumerate more Examples of the Mutability of Riches, is to hold a Candle to the Sun; for who can walk the streets without meeting Variety of Instan­ces? How many Men, who formerly liv'd plentifully, and were in good Esteem for Wealth and Riches, are now re­duc'd from a Spring-Tide of Plenty, to the lowest Ebb of Poverty? Neither has this befallen one sort of Men alone, but Men of all Ranks and Qualities, Gentlemen▪ Merchants, Mariners, Tradesmen, Mecha­nicks, Citizens and Country-men, Yeo­men and Farmers: Those who were for­merly [Page 38] as Rich as Croesus, are now as poor as Conon; and from a Dives, turn'd into a Lazarus: And if you shou'd Enquire by what means all this comes to pass, some wou'd inform you 'twas by Ship­wrack at Sea, others by Suretiship on Land; some by bad Debtors and Politi­que Bankrupts, those Pests of Trade, and Shopwracks of the Citizens; others by Sickness, Physick and Physicians; and some by grinding Vsury; others by pay­ing Forfeitures and double Taxes, have been brought to an irrecoverable Con­sumption: Some have been undone by Careless, Thievish, and Fugitive Ser­vants: And even Loyalty, and a sense of our Duty to God and the King, has through the Cunning Craftiness of some Men, been made the occasion of Ruining many. But besides all these, there want not many that have been their own Ruine; Some by Good (or rather Bad) Fellow­ship; others by great House-keeping, their Minds being too big for their Means; some by Hawks, Hounds, Horses, and Whores; these are destroy'd by their own [Page 39] Lusts, and Eaten by the Wolf bred in their own Flesh; or, as 'tis Fabled of Actaeon, are devour'd by their own Dogs. And surely those may well be call'd Un­certain Riches, that have so many Wings to fly away. I had forgot to mention Fire, which where it gets the Mastery, proves very fatal, and in a few hours time makes Beggars of the richest Merchants; of which that dreadful one in London in the Year 1666. Serves for a thousand Instances. Which shews sufficiently the mutability of Worldly Riches, and what small cause we have of Trusting in 'em.

BUT tho' perhaps some Men may prove more fortunate, and that their Riches shou'd stay with 'em, as tho' they had been wedded to 'em, not to depart for term of Life; yet there must be a Separation when they come to dye: For as the Word of Truth, besides our own Experience, infallibly assures us, The Rich Man when he dyes shall carry nothing away with him, his Pomp shall not descend to the Grave. And therefore as the Ex­cellent St. Augustine has it, Vide Viven­tem [Page 40] cogita morientem, quid hic habet, quid secum tollit, &c. Eye the rich Man, poise and ponder his Estate, living & dying, to consider what he hath here, and what he takes with him from hence. Damascene hath a Notable Fiction of Three Friends, which all pro­fessed Love to a Man, and the Trial of it was this: One Friend would stay with him all the time of his Health and Pro­sperity; that Friend was Pleasure, Vo­luptuousness and Mirth: The Second Friend wou'd stay with him in his Sick­ness, yea, to the hour of Death; that Friend was Riches; but having brought him to the Grave, there it left him: The Third Friend goes with him beyond the Grave, even to God's Tribunal, and pleads for him there, and this Friend is God's Fear, and God's Favour: This Friend is more worth than all the rest: For as for the second Friend, Riches, that leaves us, you see, at the Grave. These Friends, saith Bernard, either have their End before we dye, or see our End when we dye; either they forsake us, or are forsaken of us. We have already heard [Page 41] what holy Iob said, Naked came we into the World, and Naked shall we go out again: And the great Saladine, the Conquerour of Asia (a second Tamberlain) well ap­ply'd it to himself; for dying in his Ar­my, instead of all other Obsequies, he or­dered only a Linnen Cloth, a Winding­sheet, to be carried before him on the Top of a Spear, throughout the Camp, with this Proclamation, Saladini quod Reliqnum: Here's all that's left of great Saladine: Ensigns, Trophies, Victories, Triumphs, are all included in this Lin­nen Rag, the cover for my Dead Corps; and except this, all the rest must remain behind: Our Houses, Lands, Wife, Chil­dren, we must shake hands with 'em all, and bid a long Farewel to 'em when we come to dye. Gulielmus Parisienses com­pares those that load themselves here with thick Clay, to a Parcel of Boys that have robb'd an Orchard, who after they have Eaten what they can, stuff their Pockets, Sleeves and Coats full, to carry out with them; but at the door there stands one that searcheth them, takes all they have, [Page 42] and sends them away with no more than they brought in: The World says he, is the Orchard; the Cormorants of the World are those greedy Boys; the Fruit stolen, are Riches ingross'd; and the Por­ter is Death, who makes 'em leave it all behind 'em. It is also compared to a poor Man invited to a rich Mans Table; he has the use of his Plate to drink in, and of his Silver Spoons to Eat his Broth with, while he is there at the Feast; but if he presumes to pocket up any Plate, or to carry away the least Spoon, there is search made by the Porter for what is missing, and it is taken from him with disgrace. We are in the World as in an Inn, saith Tully; and we may use it as our Hosts House, and our Bed too, that proper place to which God hath called us, for the time we lodge; but we must carry away no Cloaths, no Coverings, except we borrow a Winding-sheet, use­ful only as the Secondine to the Child, to wrap us in; for Excepting this, Death as a Common Pyrate, or a Thief, strips us of all the rest.

[Page 43] NOW what Contentment or Satis­faction can we propose to our selves in the Enjoyment of such Uncertain fluctu­ating Things, Which either ere long will leave us, or of necessity we must leave them? It is surely a great argument of our Minds being plac'd upon Wrong Objects, when we can mourn for the loss of such Flying and Lying Vanities.

The Soul's Expostulation.

DISQUIET not thy self, O my Soul, about the Things of this World; nor set thine heart on that which is not: If thou hadst not lost the World, perhaps thou mightst have lost thy self, in setting thy heart too much upon it. And since God's Word has told thee, That if any Man love the World, the love of the Father is not in him; thou hast cause to rejoyce that thou hast lost that, which might (hadst thou kept it) have caus'd thee to lose the Favour of GOD: And yet what hast thou lost in losing it? Or what didst thou gain by it when thou [Page 44] hadst it, except Trouble and Care? Thou hadst then no more than Food and Ray­ment, and that thou hast still, tho' thou hast lost thy Riches: When thou hadst most occasion for 'em, then they left thee, and fled away to strangers: Is it not therefore far better to trust in the Living God, than in uncertain Riches? For Riches profit not in the Day of Wrath, but Righteousness delivereth from Death. And if thou mak'st it thy chief Business to seek first the Kingdom of GOD, and the Righteousness thereof, there is no­thing necessary for thee, but GOD has promis'd it shall be added to thee. And wilt thou grieve because thou art depriv'd of Unnecessary Things? Learn▪ O my Soul, to make the Will of God the mea­sure of thy Desires: And when thou de­sirest nothing but what God wills, thou may'st desire what thou wilt, and obtain it. Thou mayst assure thy self that God wills what is best for thee, and when thou hast conform'd thy Will to his, thou needest not fear a blessed Issue. And if what God has done, appears not at the [Page 45] present best to thee; it is not because it really is not best, but because by reason of thy present Darkness, thou canst not see it so. God sees the End of all his Works from the beginning, and perfectly knows the Events of all his Dispensati­ons; but thou, O my Soul, are short­sighted, can'st not see far before thee; and since thou canst not see what God intends by his present Providences, 'tis now thy time to live in the Exercise of Patience; and glorifie him by believing.


O Most Merciful and gracious God, who art the Well-spring of Life, and an inexhaustible Fountain of Goodness, be pleased to look in Mercy upon me poor and miserable Sinner, who had been immers'd in the things of this Life, and drown'd in the Love of the World, hadst not thou in mercy taken them away from me: O help me to acknowledge thy righteous hand here­in, and kiss that Rod wherewith thou hast so mercifully chastiz'd me. And O most [Page 46] gracious God, wilt thou please for the time to come, to take off my Heart from the inor­dinate Love of Riches, and all other things of this World, and to place my Affections upon thy blessed Majesty, who art my Souls supreme and ultimate Happiness, and its ex­ceeding great Reward: Convince me more and more of the Wickedness as well as Folly of my former Life, in forsaking Thee the Fountain of Living Waters, and hewing out to my self Cisterns, broken Cisterns that could hold no Water: Suffer me, O Lord, no lon­gis to follow after Lying Vanities, and so to forsake my own Mercy: And let thy Love, O thou God of my Life, purge my Soul from the love of all other things whatsoever: Thou hast said in thy Word, That those that love Thee shall inherit Substance, whilst I, like a wretched Prodigal, have been feeding on Husks, and grasping at Shadows: O let me not henceforth trust in uncertain Riches, but in Thee the Living God; and buy of Thee Gold Try'd in the Fire, that so I may be truly rich, and white Rayment, that I may be cloathed. Grant this, O Lord, and whatsoever else Thou seest necessary for me, [Page 47] for Iesus Christ his sake. Amen. Our Father, &c.

Meditation III.
Of the Vanity of Worldly Pleasures.

PLEASURE is that which all pur­sue and covet, tho' most mistake the Object of it: It is that for which Men value their lives, and without which they think it wou'd scarce be worth the Liv­ing: But if they mean the Pleasures of this World, abstracted from the Love of God, and those unspeakable Delights that are in him, there's nothing in which men are more mistaken: So far is Worldly Pleasure from making of Men happy, that it puts 'em in a state of Death: This St. Paul assures us, 1 Tim. V. 6. She that liveth in Pleasure, is dead while she liveth. And large Experience confirms this Truth; for those that have most affected it, have always found it fatal.

LET us give a few Instances: (For we [Page 48] are apter to be led by Examples than Pre­cepts) The Philistines had taken Sampson thro' the Treachery of Dalilah; Sampson wou'd needs enjoy his Pleasure with Da­lilah, but she refus'd to let him, unless he told her where his strength lay; which when she knew, she straight betray'd him to his Enemies: And this was the effect of Sampson's Pleasure. When the Phi­listines had obtain'd this Prize, it made 'em mighty merry, and they must needs go take their pleasure too: And Sampson (whom they barbarously had blinded) must be sent for, that he might make them Sport: But it was fatal Sport to the Philistines; for Sampson having with some assistance grop'd out the two Sup­porters or chief Pillars of the House, pray­ing to God to strengthen him that he might be aveng'd for his two Eyes, was heard and answer'd, and Sampson pulls the House about their Ears, whereby they all were slain, which put a bloody Period to their Pleasure.

THE Persians were a People given up to Pleasure above other Nations, which [Page 49] made 'em so effeminate, as render'd 'em an easie Conquest to their Enemies: Belshazzar was a Prince given to Pleasure, and liv'd in great Voluptuousness; and that not only in a time of Peace, but when he was surrounded by his Enemies, and Darius lay with a Vast Army on the o­ther side the River Euphrates: This not­withstanding, Belshazzar was resolv'd to take his Pleasure, and makes a great Feast to a Thousand of his Lords, and drinks Wine before 'em, even out of the sacred Vessels taken out of the Temple of the House of God which was at Ie­rusalem. But while Belshazzar was taking of his Pleasure, and Carrousing with his Lords, there appears suddenly a Hand Writing upon the Wall, which tho' the King understood not, yet his Countenance was chang'd, and his Thoughts so troubled him, that the Ioynts of his Loyns were loosed, and his knees smote one against ano­ther: This quickly put an End to all their Pleasure, and fill'd 'em with Con­fusion and Astonishment: And the sad Epilogue to this Jovial Feast, was, That [Page 50] God had number'd his Kingdom. and fini­shed it; and that he was weigh'd in the Ba­lances and found wanting, and his King­dom was divided, and given to the Medes and Persians: And that Night Belshaz­zar himself was slain, which put a final End to all his Pleasure. So that it is very evident that what is affirmed of Wordly Sorrow, is much more true of Worldly Pleasure, That it worketh Death. And Solomon, who of all Men was best able to Extract the quintessence of Pleasure, and taste what was in it, gives us this poor yet true Account of it, after he had made the Experiment, Behold this also is Vanity, Eccles. II. 1, 2. Not only Vain, but Va­nity it self, in the Abstract; and as if this was not enough, he lays a greater Impu­tation on it in the next Verse, where he tells us, I said of Laughter, It is mad; and of Mirth, What doth it? And this he further Exemplifies, by telling us, It is better to go to the House of Mourning, than to go to the House of Feasting Eccles. VII. 2.

INDEED all Pleasures, if they die not [Page 51] like Children in their very Birth, yet they are liable to so many accidents, that they quickly wither and decay, and all their Gust is gone: The pain in one Tooth, the Cramp in one Joynt, the Gout in one Toe, the Megrim in the Head, the Col­lick in the Guts, the Feaver in the Blood, the Sciatica in the Thigh, the Fistula or Hemorrhoids in the nether parts, or any one of these, takes away the relish of our Pleasures, and imbitters all the Voluptu­ous Persons Enjoyments; turning his Singing into Sighing, his Musick into Mourning, and his Riot into Rage. And who wou'd mourn the loss of things so Subject to a Thousand Accidents, which have so little real Good in the Enjoy­ment?

The Soul's Expostulation.

AND now, O my Soul, consider with thy self, how vain and how pernicious the Pleasures of the World are! For tho' Mankind do generally give up themselves to the Pursuit thereof, yet [Page 52] how full of Pain do they find these Plea­sures! Consider, O my Soul, that sen­sual Pleasures are the Pleasures of Beasts; which relish them with more delight than Men, and use 'em according to the Di­ctates of Nature, and for the Satisfying of their Wants; and that with more Moderation; for they only drink for the quenching of their Thirst, and Eat for the satisfying of their Hunger: Whilst Men, endow'd with Reason, and born to a higher End, even to Glorifie and Enjoy their Maker, do immerse themselves in the fil­thy Puddles of Drunkenness and Glutto­ny, and other base Carnal Delights, and thereby degenerate below the Beasts that Perish. Raise up thy Affections there­fore, O my Soul, and place them upon Things above; there are Pleasures and Delights that are worthy of thee, even such as are adequate to thy Wants, and capable of Satisfying the Desires of an Immortal Soul. And tho' thy outward Circumstances and late Losses, have ren­der'd thee uncapable of Pursuing the Plea­sures of this World, thou art thereby the [Page 53] more fitted to aspire to those Pleasures that the World cann't take from thee, and which alone are Worth the Enjoy­ing: If thou hearkenest to the Enchant­ing Syrens of Worldly Pleasure, they do but intice thee with their Pleasant Songs (as they would have doue Vlysses) till they bring thee to cast thy self into the Sea of Destruction, and over-whelm'd thee with Eternal Ruine. But if, O my Soul, thou waitest at the Gates of Wisdom, and hearkenest to her Voice, thou soon shalt find, not only that her Ways are Ways of Pleasantness, but also, that all her Paths are Peace.


MOST Gracious and Merciful Fa­ther, who art the God of all Con­solation and Comfort, in whose Presence there is fullness of Ioy, and at whose right hand there are Pleasures for evermore; be pleased to look down in mercy upon me a wretched and miserable Sinner, who have been so long seeking that Pleasure and Satisfaction in the [Page 54] Creature, which is alone to be found in thy Self; and grant that my Mind and Affecti­ons being taken off from all Carnal De­lights, and fix'd upon thy Self, I may hence­forth lay aside every weight, and the Sin that doth so easily beset me, and may run with Patience the Race that thou hast set be­fore me. And since I find in thy Word, that that it is the Character of some in the last Day, That they shall be Lovers of Pleasures more than Lovers of God; make me, I hum­bly beseech thee, in the Number of those that have rather chose to suffer affliction with the People of God, than to enjoy the Pleasures of Sin for a season: Like Moses esteeming the Reproaches of Christ, to be far more Eligible than the Pleasures of Egypt. Grant this, O Lord, for Iesus Christ his sake, thy Beloved Son, and my alone Saviour; who has further taught me to Pray, saying, Our Father, &c.

Meditation IV.
Of the Nature and Causes of Afflictions.

NOtwithstanding what has been said in the three former Medita­tions of the Uncertainty and Emptiness of Honours, Riches, and Pleasures, and what little Cause we have to be troubled at the loss of them; yet since the best of Men are apt to look upon the loss of those things as Afflictions; and are more for­ward to bemoan themselves under them, than to Enquire into their Causes; and since the finding out of their Causes, is the best way to remove their Effects; I will now Enquire into the Nature and Causes of Afflictions, and therein what were the Sins that procur'd those Ca­lamities under which our Royal Master and his Family has so long suffer'd.

AFFLICTIONS are always Evils in themselves, and in their own Nature; tho' through the Over-ruling Providence [Page 56] of Almighty God, they are often turn'd to the great Advantage of those that suf­fer 'em: So the Author to the Hebrews tells us, No Chastening for the Present is Ioyous but Grievous; nevertheless after­wards it yieldeth the Peaceable Fruits of Righteousness to them that are excercised thereby, Heb. XII. 11. And this was the Experience of the Royal Prophet, Before I was Afflicted, I went astray, but now, says he, have I kept thy Word. And in ano­ther place he tells us, It is good for me, that I have been afflicted: And yet these Afflictions were grievous to him to bear, for he cries out, They made him go mourn­ing all the Day long. But these suffer­ings are never brought upon a People, or a Family without a Cause, for God does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the Children of Men; and St. Peter tells us expresly, that it is not without need be, that we are in Heaviness—And it is as sure that Sin is always the cause of Suffering. And therefore the Psalmist says, When thou with rebukes doest correct Man for Iniquity, thou makest his Beauty to consume as the [Page 57] Moth: And the Prophet Ieremiah asks Wherefore does a living Man complain, a Man for the Punishment of his Sins? So that nothing can be more clear then that Sin is the cause of Affliction: Which be­ing laid down as an Undoubted Truth, it remains that we Enquire what those Sins are, which are most likely to bring down National Judgments; and then to Examine whether we have not been guilty of those Sins; that so we may thereby come to know wherefore it is that God contendeth with us; and knowing that, that we may repent of our Iniquities, and return unto him against whom we have Sinned, that he may return unto us with Mercy and with loving kindness.

1. THE Sin of Prophane Swearing and Cursing, is that which brings Gods Judgments on a Nation: Hence the Pro­phet tells us, That because of Swearing the Land mourns; and this Sin is expresly forbidden by the third Commandment; which enjoyns us not to take the Name of the Lord our God in vain; and threatens, that God will not hold him guiltless that [Page 58] does so; whereby is implied, That GOD will charge the guilt and violation of his holy Law upon such a one; the taking his Name in vain being a Prophaning of it: Whereas we are commanded to fear that great and dreadful Name, The LORD our GOD: And this prophane Swearing is also forbidden in the New­Testament, our Blessed Saviour strictly en­joyning us not to Swear at all; Mat. v. 34. And this St. Iames presses further, say­ing, Above all things, my Brethren, Swear not, Jam. v. 12. Not that hereby we are forbidden to testifie the Truth of a mat­ter upon Oath before a Magistrate, as some dream; for in this case St. Paul tells us, That an Oath for Confirmation is an end of all strife, Heb. vi. 16. The intent therefore is, That we abstain from all pro­phane Swearing, which is a Taking of God's Name in vain, and a procuring Cause of his Judgments upon a People and Nation; of which there wants not plenty of Examples, both Sacred and Pro­phane, were it needful to insert 'em.

BUT that which more concerns us, is, [Page 59] To Enquire whether we are not grie­vously guilty hereof our selves, and so are justly made an Example to others? And in this case, I must say, Our guilt is too evident to be deny'd; for we declare our Sin as Sodom, and hide it not: Our Tongues being oftner us'd in impreca­ting Divine Vengeance, even Damnation it self, upon our Souls, than in imploring the Pardon of our Sins. How many are there that pretend Love and Loyalty to our King, yet will shew it no other way, but by Drinking his health, till they have lost their own; and by their horrid exe­crable Oaths, defying of the Majesty of Heaven? Alas! What can be expected from those Men, that are every hour bid­ding Defiance to the Almighty, and Da­ring God to damn them? With what face can they pretend to love their King, that thus affront their Maker? Whoever thus harden'd himself against God and prosper'd? It was these Fighters against Heaven that brought the Royal Martyr to the Block; and were more guilty of his Death, than the Regicides that con­demn'd [Page 60] him, or the Villanous Executi­oner that sever'd his Royal Head from his Sacred Body: And it is such as these that have turn'd our Royal Master out of his Throne, and forc'd him to Abdicate (as some will have it) his Crown and Kingdoms: For when GOD was thus En­gag'd against him, by the reiterated Blas­phemous Imprecations of his pretended Followers, how cou'd he hope to stand? For shame, therefore, Gentlemen, let us either lay aside our pretences of Loyalty to the King, or cease to offend GOD as we do every Day, by Belching forth such Vollies of loud Oaths and Blasphe­mies against him. For had we but as fre­quently Employ'd our Tongues in pray­ing for him, as we have done in cur­sing of our selves, and in Blaspheming God, we might have long since hop'd a better Issue. If therefore we wou'd shew our selves good Subjects to the King, let us approve our hearts to God as good Christians, which we cannot do but by walking in his Ways, and keeping of his Laws. We have seen the fatal effects of [Page 61] Cursing and Swearing, let us now steer a contrary Course, and betake our selves to Prayers and Tears, the Churches only Weapons in suffering Times. Of which I shall say more at the Conclusion.— But,

2. Whoredom and Adultery is ano­ther crying Sin that brings down God's Judgments upon a Nation: This Sin is di­rectly against the Seventh Commandment; which forbids us to commit Adultery; and however the Fools of this Age, I mean such as make a Mock at Sin, have stil'd it but a Trick of Youth; and that the Ro­man Church calls it but a Vanial Sin; yet we have a more sure Word of Prophecy, even the holy Scriptures, which tells us, That for these things the Wrath of God comes upon the Children of Disobedience: And well it may, since the Author to the Hebrews assures, That (how slight so ever others make of it, yet) Whore-mongers and Adulterers God will judge. And that this Sin brings down Judgments on a Nation, the Prophet Ieremiah informs us, Ier. v. 7, 8, 9.—When I had fed them to the [Page 62] full, then they committed Adultery, and as­sembled themselves by Troops in the Harlots Houses: They were as fed Horses in the Morning; every one Neighed after his Neighbours Wife: This was their sin: And what the effect of it was, the next Verse shews us; Shall I not Visit for these things, saith the Lord? And shall not my Soul be avenged on such a Nation as this? This sufficiently expresses God's Anger against it, especially when it is grown common.

IT now concerns us therefore to Ex­amine our selves, and see whether this also be not registred in that black Cata­logue of Sins which we are guilty of! And I am much afraid that there is but few of us that can say in this respect, my heart is clean: For the foot steps of this Sin are but too plainly to be trac'd among us. And therefore all of us have rea­son to humble our Souls before God, and to say, O Lord, to us belongs confu­sion of Face, to our Kings, to our Princes, and to our Nobles, (as well as to the Com­mons) because we have sinned against thee. For my part, I know not what unaccoun­table [Page 63] Liberty some Men give themselves in this matter; as if those in high places had a Toleration, or a License to Sin: But I am sure God's Word allows none; no, not to the greatest of Men: The Law of God is, Thou shalt not commit Adultery; and I know of no Exception. Of this sin, When King David himself was found guilty, though he had an Il­lustrious Pardon sent him from Heaven, Thou shalt not dye; yet it did not Exempt him from Temporal Judgments, for the Prophet Nathan told him plainly, The Sword shou'd never depart from his House, because he had despised God, in taking the Wife of Vriah—Therefore let all that are concerned herein (how great soever they be) humble their Souls under the mighty hand of God, and turn from the Evil of their doings, that God may be thereby reconciled unto us, and have Mercy upon us. For this is a sin that if not repented of, will keep good things from us; and make a Separation between us and our God: And such have the more reason to do this, because their [Page 64] Ex­ample may have corrupted many: For, Regis ad Exemplum totus Componitur Orbis. And indeed this Sin has spread so excee­dingly upon that account, that I am per­swaded it has been none of the least causes of God's heavy displeasure against us. Yet will not this in the least justifye them, of a lower degree, who shall fol­low so ill an Example, for by them God's holy Law is violated, and Himself pro­voked by their Filthiness; and themselves thereby made the cause of bringing down the Judgments of God both upon King and People; such have therefore great reason forthwith to break off their Sins by Righteousness, and turn from the Evil of their Ways; that the Lord may par­don their Sins, and heal our Land.

3. Cruelty and Bloodshed is a great and crying Sin, which defiles the Land, and brings down▪ Judgments from Heaven upon it: Nay, it causes the Divine Ma­jesty to shut out our very Prayers, so that he will not hear us: The Prophet Isaiah gives us a full account of this, in the first Chapter of his Prophecy, in the 7th Verse [Page 65] he gives an account of God's Judgments on the Israelites not altogether unlike what has befallen us; for, says he, Your Country is desolate, your Cities are burnt with fire; your Land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as over­thrown by strangers. And in the 15th Verse, GOD tells them, When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine Eyes from you, and when you make many Prayers, I will not hear: Would you know now what it is that has provok'd the Al­mighty against them? He assigns this as the reason of all, in the latter End of the 15th Verse, Your hands are full of Blood. This is also farther Evident from the Ex­ample of King Saul, who was a Bloody Man, not only in commanding the Priests of the Lord, even Fourscore and five Per­sons that wore a linnen Ephod, to be slain, but also because he sought to slay the Gibeonites, under a pretence of Zeal to the Children of Israel and Iudah, 2 Sam. xxi. 2. But these things brought down publick Judgments upon the Land several years after; for when in the Reign [Page 66] of David there was a famine in the Land for three Years, and David Enquired of the Lord to know the cause thereof, he was answered, It is for Saul, and for his Bloody House; and nothing cou'd appease God's Anger, till seven of Sauls Sons were hang'd on that account: So loud is the cry of Innocent Blood against the shedders thereof.

LET us now Enquire how far we are concern'd in the guilt of this Sin also: And shou'd we go about to clear our selves herein, the very Gates of the great City of the Kingdom wou'd cry out against us: And all the West of England would testifie the contrary to us. I am well as­sured that our Royal Master is not a Prince that does delight in Blood, and I wish with all my heart, that I cou'd say as much for all his Servants: But alas! How many are there that under a pre­tence of Zeal for the King's Service, have executed their own Private Revenge, and thereby exceedingly disserv'd the King, on whom the Odium always lay: We all know there was a Rebellion in the West [Page 67] of England, and there is no question but Justice requir'd some Examples shou'd be made: But had the Kings Ministers (to whom he intirely left it) made as much use of Mercy as they did of Justice, I am sure they wou'd have done the King more Service; and I have reason to be of this Opinion, since Solomon tells us, (who had also a Rebellion broke forth at the be­ginning of his Reign, against him) That the Kings Throne is Establish'd by Mercy. But I will say no more of that, because those who were the chief Instruments therein, have long since given an Account of their Actions before a higher Tribu­nal, where they have receiv'd the just Re­compence of their Reward. And if there be any of us yet alive that have been con­cern'd in shedding of Innocent Blood, or that have pursu'd our own Revenge un­der a shew either of Loyalty or Justice, they have great reason to acknowledge their Sin, and to humble their Souls be­fore God, and take shame to themselves, as having, to the utmost of their Power, therein brought down the Judgments of [Page 68] God both upon our King and on his Peo­ple. As to my self, I can appeal to the Searcher of Hearts, that I was grieved to see that Effusion of Christian Blood, and wou'd have prevented it, had it lain in my Power; and as I had an Opportunity, I shew'd Mercy; and where I cou'd not, I have not been wanting to pray that the guilt of that Blood might not fall upon the King, nor on his Royal Issue. For even then my fore-boding Soul had great apprehensions that it wou'd cry loud for Vengeance.

BUT in the Fourth Place, Opression and Injustice, is another crying Sin that brings down Judgments on a Nation. To this, the Word of GOD abundantly bears Witness: Hence it is that God so often complains, That they Iudge not the Fatherless, neither doth the Cause of the Widow come unto them; but every one loveth Gifts, and followeth after Rewards; and that he looked for Iudgment, but behold Oppression; for Righteousness, but behold a Cry: And therefore the Prophet Isaiah exhorts them, if they expect Mercy, to [Page 69] seek Iudgment, relieve the Oppressed, judge the Fatherless, and plead the Cause of the Widow; threatning that if they refus'd, they shou'd be devour'd with the Sword; for the Mouth of the Lord had Spoken it. And in another Place the Prophet com­plains, That Iudgment is turned away back­ward, and Iustice standeth afar off; for Truth is fallen in the street, and Equity cannot enter: And for this God threatens that the whole Land shall be desolate; and that the Earth shall mourn, and the Hea­vens above shall be black: These things sufficiently declare the dreadful conse­quences and effects of Injustice and Op­pression; And that it brings down Nati­onal Judgments.

LET us now Enquire how far we are concern'd in the Guilt of this Sin. And I am afraid that neither in this shall we be able to acquit our selves; for tho' I wou'd not be thought to charge my Royal Master in this matter, yet I am very sure that those through whose hands the Ad­ministration of Affairs then passed, made so many false steps, that they can by no [Page 70] means be acquitted of Injustice, as well as great Imprudence: And this I am the bolder to say, because it was for Their Mis-management, that the King now suf­fers. And that this may the better ap­pear, I will descend to a few Particulars.

TO say nothing of Turning the West into a Slaughter-house, and making such a shambles of the Roads and High-ways there; exercising this Cruelty upon many that the whole Country knew were al­together innocent of that for which they suffer'd, which was the ready way to bring an Odium upon the King, by making the People believe that he was as Inexorable as his Ministers: I say, To pass by this, having before said something of it, It was undoubtedly a great Piece of Injustice to set up a New Court for the Management of Ecclesiastical Affairs, contrary to the Express Laws of the Land; whereby the Church and Clergy of England were Sub­jected to the Wills of some Men that were Enemies to both; who made the Kings Authority a staulking-horse to their own private Malice and Revenge, and thereby [Page 71] put many fears into the Hearts of those that were the King's best Friends, who cou'd not but fore-see the fatal Tendency of such Proceedings.

IT was likewise a great Piece of In­justice to suspend the Right Reverend the Bishop of London from the Exercise of his Pastoral charge, for that which in it self was no offence; the said Bishop having acted (at least in that Affair) with all that Caution and Prudence which the Duty of his Place requir'd. Which besides the Injustice and Oppression of it, was a great disservice to the King; in disquieting the Minds of his good Subjects, who began to grow doubtful whereto such things might tend; and many of 'em (as the Event too sadly shew'd) began to enter­tain such thoughts of his Majesty, as was inconsistent with their Duty; and might have forewarn'd the Authors of those Ir­regular Actings, that, that which was their Sin, wou'd quickly be their Punishment.

THE Declaration for Liberty of Con­science, (tho' it might indeed shew the Kings Lenity to Dissenters) was certainly a false step in the Advisers, both as it [Page 72] put too great a Power into the Dissen­ters hands, who had been lately so se­verely Prosecuted; as also because it was expresly against Law: For tho' the Dis­senters might have been conniv'd at in their different Way of Worship (which wou'd have satisfy'd them, and have been serviceable to the Government, in ma­king them easie, and so keeping them quiet: Yet to make 'em capable of hold­ing Offices in Corporations, and setting 'em upon an Equal Foot with the Church of England (or rather above it) was too bold a stroke at once; and made the Peo­ple too much inclin'd to think it was de­sign'd to serve another Interest, rather than that of Protestant Dissenters. And tho' in this I am Verily perswaded of the King's Sincerity aud Uprightness, I can­not be so of some that were very near him, and to whom he cou'd scarce deny any thing.

THERE was also another false step in the putting out of this Declaration, and which was a great piece both of In­justice and Oppression, and that was, [Page 73] The Enjoyning it to be sent to the Bi­shops of every See, to be by them ordered to be read by their Respective Ministers in each Diocess. Why should the Bishops be deny'd Liberty of Con­science, when it was granted to Dissen­ters? And why could not the Dissenters enjoy the Liberty of their Consciences without the Bishops being enjoyn'd to read the Declaration, which they knew to be contrary to the Law, and therefore illegal? Not that the Bishops were against Indulgence to Dissenters, when it should be propos'd in Parliament, but they then saw there was latet in Anguis, a Snake in the Grass, which many were not aware of: And that the Bishops shou'd be Im­prison'd in the Tower, for Refusing to do that which was against their Consci­ences, was certainly a very false step in the Advisers, besides a great piece of In­justice: And I am very sorry that the fatal Consequence thereof was no more perceiv'd by the King and his Ministers. I have however, this Consolation in my Self, That what I acted at that time, was [Page 74] out of Duty both to God and the King; and that I am no way to be charg'd with what afterwards follow'd thereupon; and if I was at all mistaken, or acted beyond what I ought to have done, I humbly beg Pardon both of God and the King; being well assur'd in my own Integrity, and that it was without any Evil Design. I did indeed soon perceive of what ill Consequence it would be to his Majesty, and what Improvement his Enemies wou'd make of it; but it was not in my power to help it.

THE Violent Proceedings against the President and Fellows of Magdalen-Col­ledge in Oxford, was also very Unjust and Oppressive, and a very false step, both in the Advisers and Actors: And what I cannot remember, when I consider what effect it had upon the People, without great Compassion to his Majesty; who by the Violent Passions of some hot and fiery Spirits, was precipated into such fa­tal Counsels; where all the Profit would redound to others, but all the Odium rest upon the King. As to the Fellows, I must [Page 75] own they did but their Duty, and they could not chuse otherways then accor­ding to the Statutes of the Colledge. And indeed to compel them to do it, was both against Law, and against the Kings Decla­ration for Liberty of Conscience, which surely extended to them as well as to others, they having the same Plea.

IT is not without cause that I have so largely insisted on these several Instan­ces of Injustice and Oppression: For these things carry'd the Evident Tokens of Di­vine Displeasure along with 'em, and were afterwards made the chief Motives for Introducing the late Revolution: Which tho' it was too wide a stretch, and very unreasonably urg'd so far, (for a Chimney that smoaks may be mended, without any danger of the House being pull'd down) yet was it such a Rebuke to the Authors of those precipitate Coun­sels, that (as I said before) they might easily see their Sin in their Punishment; nor shou'd I have at all mourn'd their Fate, had they not involv'd my Royal Master in the same Ruine with them.

[Page 76] UPON a serious Reflection on the fore-mentioned Sins, and our own guilt therein, we may plainly discern that it is not without very great Cause, that it has pleas'd God to bring these Afflictions upon us; And that we have reason to joyn in that Confession of the Church in the Lamentations, The Lord is Righteous, for we have rebelled against his Command­ments: Thou hast made us as the off-scou­ring and refuse in the midst of the People: For we have transgressed and rebelled, and thou hast not pardoned; but hast covered us with Anger, and Persecuted us; yea, thou hast covered thy self with a Cloud that our Prayer should not pass through. The Lord hath accomplished his Fury, he hath poured upon us his fierce anger, for the Sins of her Prophets, and the Iniquity of her Priests.

WHAT then remains, but that know­ing the cause of our Afflictions, we en­deavour to remove them, by humbling our selves under the mighty hand of God, and by searching and trying our Ways, and turning again to the Lord: For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but if we [Page 77] repent of our sins, and turn unfainedly to him, tho' he cause grief, yet he will have compassion, according to the multitude of his Mercies; for he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the Children of Men; to turn a­side the right of a Man before the face of the most High, to subvert a Man in his Cause, the Lord approveth not: Let us therefore in good Earnest set about this Work of Repentance and Reformation; for were we once but a Reformed Peo­ple, we should soon be a happy People: Our Losses would soon be made up, and strangers should no more rule over us. But whilst we are going on in our old Sins, we must still expect that GOD will fol­low us with his Judgments until we be consumed. For if we do wickedly, we shall be destroyed, both we and our King.

NEITHER let our Hearts fret a­gainst the Lord; but submit to his Will; for 'tis he that hath done it, and 'tis our duty to be patient under it, and wait his Time for our Deliverance: To go about to deliver our selves, is but to make our Bonds the stronger; and to entangle our [Page 78] selves more: Our Strength is to sit still, and to wait for the Salvation of God: For when he works, there's none can let it; and till he does arise and work, all we can do, will be in vain. And this many have found to their cost. Let us learn to be wise, by other mens harms. There are many Devices in the heart of Man, but the Counsel of the Lord that shall stand: And whoever goes about to resist it, will find him self sadly deceiv'd. I will always maintain my Loyalty to the King, and quietly submit to the Power that Protects me. That so I may keep a Conscience void of offence both towards God, and towards Man. And it is the grief of my heart to see any otherwise minded: For if we must not Speak wickedly for God, nor Talk deceitfully for him, much less must we Act wickedly for him. And yet I would be found doing too; I mean, I would be found in the daily Exercise of Faith and Repentance, and endeavour to get a bro­ken and a contrite Heart for my past Sins; because God has assur'd me, that with such Sacrifices he is well pleased.

The Soul's Expostulation.

AND now, O my Soul, consider with thy self, If Sin be the procuring Cause of all thy Troubles, hast thou not greater Reason to be troubled for thy Sins, than for thy Sufferings? Afflictions may make thee better, but Sin always makes thee worse. It may be necessary some­times to chuse Sorrow, but it never can be so to chuse Sin. 'Tis God alone is that Wise Alchymist that can Extract Good from Evil; and make even the Sins of his People turn to his Glory: Thus through the working of God's Grace, thy Pride may tend to humble thee, and a due sence of thy Passion may produce Patience. But this is alone the Effect of God's Grace, for the Nature of Sin is only Evil. What reason then, O my Soul, hast thou to bless God, who has made thy Outward Losses prove thy Inward Gain; by taking thee off from the Pursuit of Sin, and Training thee up in the School of Affli­ction! Sure, O my Soul, it concerns thee [Page 80] to see what good Lessons thou hast learn'd there; for if thou art not the better for't, thou wilt certainly be the worse: Affli­ction is a Furnace, and if thou comest not forth purified like Gold, thy dross will appear the more. But if thou canst say with David, It has been good for me that I have been afflicted, thou hast great cause to bless God for it. If these Trials have done thee good, what hast thou to com­plain of? And if by the light of Affli­ction thou hast seen the greatness of thy Sin, and that sight of Sin has humbled thee, and brought thee to Repentance, thou art hereby become a greater Gainer, than all the outward Prosperity in the World could make thee: For there is no Comparison between Temporal Losses, and Spiritual Gains: For all the things that are seen, are but Temporal; but the things that are not seen, are Eternal: How blessed a thing is it, O my Soul, to be af­flicted! Seeing these light Afflictions that are but for a moment, work out for thee a far more Exceeding and Eternal Weight of Glory: T his, O my Soul is enough not [Page 81] only to make them rejoyce, but even glory in Tribulations, since they have so blessed an effect: See then, O my Soul, that thy Tribulation worketh Patience, and Patience Experience, and Experience Hope, even that Hope which maketh not ashamed; and so shalt thou have rejoycing in thy self, and not in another.


O Almighty and merciful Lord God, who madest all things for thy own Glory, and canst Over-rule all Events so, as to bring glory to thy Name, and good to thy People, out of the darkest of thy Dispensati­ons towards them; Grant I beseech Thee, that these Afflictions with which thou hast been pleased to Exercise me, may by thy gracious Ordination bring forth the Peaceable fruits of Righteousness unto me; that I may be Enabled to say, It is good for me that I have been Afflicted. And suffer me not, O Lord, neither to despise thy chastening, by going on in those Ways of Sin and Rebellion against thee, which have brought thy Iudg­ments [Page 82] down upon this Nation; nor to defer my Repentance for those Iniquities which I have been guilty of: And since thou hast declared in thy Word, That he which hi­deth his Sins shall not prosper, but that those who confess 'em and forsake 'em shall find Mercy; Help me, I humbly beseech thee, with all thy People, to make our Confession unto thee, and to acknowledge that we have sinned, and have committed Iniquity, and have rebelled, by departing from thy Pre­cepts and thy Iudgments; neither have we hearken'd to thy Servants, the Ministers, which spoke in thy Name to our Kings, our Princes, and our Fathers, and to all the People of the Land: And therefore, O Lord, Righteousness belongs unto thee, but unto us Confusion of face, as at this day, to our King, our Princes, and our Iudges, because we have sinned against thee: And have ad­ded this Evil unto all the rest, that yet we have not made our Prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our Ini­quities, and understand thy Truth. O Lord our God, we pray thee hear, encline thine Ear, and open thine Eyes, and behold our [Page 83] low Estate: For we do not present these our Supplications before thee for our Righteous­ness sake, but for thy great Mercies, through Iesus Christ, our Lord and only Saviour. Our Father &c.

Meditation V.
Of the Benefit and Advantage of Afflictions.

WE have in the former Meditati­on Enquir'd into the Nature of Afflictions, they are Evils in themselves, not joyous but grievous; and into the Causes of them, which generally is Sin; and what some of those Sins are, we have also examin'd, and found our selves to be concern'd in them; which calls for our hearty Sorrow and Repentance. But as a wife Physician will so temper Poy­son, as not only to allay its Venom, but turn it into an Antidote; so does the great Physician of our Souls do with Af­flictions; making them work together for our Good, and bring forth for us the [Page 84] Peaceable Fruits of Righteousness. And here I will a little Meditate upon the reasons why it pleases God to Afflict his Children, and what the Benefits are that we reap thereby.

1. Because we might shew our Con­formity to our Blessed Redeemer, who first Suffered, and then Entered into his Glory: In like manner we are told that if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him: And the greater Tryals we endure here, the brighter will our Crown of Glory shine hereafter: The Author to the Hebrews, having given a large account of the sufferings of the People of God, in former Ages, and of their not accepting Deliverance, gives this as the reason, that they expected a better Resurrection: Agree­able to which, our Lord tells us, That those that are persecuted here for Righte­ousness sake, are blessed, because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven: And seeing the Cap­tain of our Salvation was made Perfect through Sufferings, why should it not also be the same with his Followers?

2. Another Reason why it pleases God [Page 85] to Exercise us here with Afflictions, is, That our hearts might be drawn off from the love of the World, which is an Ene­my to God; The inordinate love of the World, makes the Soul uncapable of the love of God; for St. Iohn tells us ex­presly, That if any Man love the World, the love of the Father is not in him: How much better is it then to have the hatred of the World, and to have God our Friend, than to have the World our Friend, and God our Enemy? And sure we have no reason to complain of Affli­ctions, since St. Paul tells us, We are cha­stened of the Lord, that we might not be condemned with the World. God is plea­sed to imbitter the World to us by Af­flictions as a Tender Mother does her Teat, when she wou'd wean her Child from the Brest; she rubs her Nipple with Aloes or Wormwood, which the Child tasting, will take the Brest no more: So when the World wou'd intice us to the love thereof, by its Delights and Plea­sures, our merciful Father sends us Tri­bulations and Afflictions to take our hearts [Page 86] from the love of present things; which could we have quietly Enjoy'd, we should have been for building Tabernacles here. Could the Prodigal Son have fill'd his Belly with Husks, he would never have thought of Returning to his Father; but Want and Affliction brought him from the Swine, with whom he would have staid, could he have got his Belly full.

3. Another Benefit we receive by Af­fliction is, That we are thereby Cured of our Soul-Disease; and that too, of such as are otherwise almost incurable. Ho­nours, Riches, and a Prosperous Condi­tion in the World, causes us too often to contract those sinful Habits which we never come to reflect upon, much less to repent of, until Affliction makes us: Therefore it is that Solomon tells us, The Rod and Reproof give Wisdom. The Sto­ry of Ioseph's Brethren is remarkable; they had sold their Brother to the Ishmae­litish Merchants, and made their Father believe he was torn in pieces of Wild Beasts, and then thought all was well; and were not at all troubled that they had [Page 87] sold their Brother, and deceiv'd their Fa­ther: But afterwards when they went down to Egypt, & were there put in Ward, and charged as being Spies, this Affli­ction brings to their remembrance their former Usage of their Brother Ioseph, and now they cry out, We are verily guilty concerning our Brother: We saw the anguish of his Soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. Had it not been for that affliction, in all probability they had ne­ver repented of their Cruelty to Ioseph. One likeneth Afflictions to the Rod of Moses, for as the striking that upon the Rock, brought forth Water; so the Rod of Affliction often mollifieth stony-heart­ed Sinners, and makes the Waters of Repentance to gush out. Another com­pares it to a File, for as that cleanses the Iron from its Rust, and make it bright, So Affliction files off that Rust of Sin, which worldly Prosperity has contracted, and makes our Graces shine more bright and glorious. The Scripture likewise compares it to a Furnace wherein Gold is [Page 88] tried, and purged from all its filth and dross, and brought to the greatest degree of Perfection. It may also well be compa­red to a Purging Potion, for as that dri­veth the corrupt and ill humours out of a diseased Body; so Afflictions drive out evil Passions and corrupt Desires and Af­fections out of the Soul; such as Pride, Vain-glory, Sloth, Niceness, Lust, Glut­tony, Drunkenness, and many more. And Elihu speaking to Iob of the Affli­ctions with which God uses to exercise his People, tells him, It is that he may with-draw Man from his Purpose, and hide Pride from him; he does indeed, says Eli­hu, chasten him with Pains upon his Bed, and the multitude of his Bones with strong Pain; so that his Life abhorreth Bread, and his Soul dainty Meat; yea, his Soul draweth near to the Grave, and his Life to the destroyers: Lo these things, says he, worketh God often-times with Man: But wou'd you know to what End? 'Tis to bring back his Soul from the Pit, to be En­lightened with the light of the Living.

4. Another Benefit of Affliction is, [Page 89] That it is a Preservative from Evil, and keeps us from many Sins which we should otherwise run into: This is what God intends, by the Prophet Hosea, when he tells the Children of Iudah, that were bent upon Idolatry, and resolved to go af­ter their Lovers, that God wou'd prevent 'em, and put a stop in their Way; I'll hedge up thy way with Thorns, says God: That is, I will bring such afflictions upon you, as shall be as so many Thorns in your sides, which shall put a stop to your Ca­reir in Wickedness. And this was the Experience of holy David long before: For he tells us, Psal. cxix. 71. It is good for me that I have been Afflicted: If you ask why it was good for him, or what Benefit he found by it? He readily tells you, Vers. 67. Before I was affli­cted, I went astray; but now have I kept thy Word: And therefore instead of mur­muring against God for Afflictions, he justifies God; I know, O Lord, says he, that thy Iudgments, are just, and that in faithfulness thou hast afflicted me.

5. ANOTHER Advantage we reap [Page 90] by Afflictions, is, That hereby God puts us upon the Tryal of our Graces: There are many that will swim with the Tide, that won't venture when the stream is a­gainst 'em. What the Devil falsly said of Iob, is but too true of many Men, they won't serve God for nought! When God blesses them with the good things of this Life, and they have all that their Hearts can wish, then they will be for God, and for the Profession of Religion; but if he puts forth his hand, and takes away what they have, they will be like those that the Prophet Isaiah speaks of, who when they are hungry, and hardly bestead, shall fret themselves, and curse their King and their God. And therefore Iob's Constancy un­der those great Afflictions, made his Piety and Patience so much the more Illustri­ous. 'Tis Affliction that shews us which are Hypocrites, and which are sincere Christians; a sincere Christian varies not with the Times, but is semper idem, always the same; whereas a Hypocrite is a Time­server, and will turn with the Times, ra­ther than be turn'd out: If Tribulation [Page 91] comes, he is for avoiding of it, let it come from what Quarter it will. How many can we remember that made the greatest Pretences of Loyalty to the King, that cou'd be; and had there been no occasion to try their Loyalty, would have been Loyal still; but when Times of Affliction and Trial came on, and the King was forc'd to with-draw himself, they like­wise with-drew their Loyalty. This shews that times of Affliction are times of Trial; by which God proves the Truth of our Love to him, and our Zeal for him: And by which we also may come to know the Deceitfulness of our own Hearts; which is also the Design of God in our Affli­ctions, as the holy Ghost testifies 2 Chron. xxxii. 31. where speaking of Hezekiah, we have these words, Howbeit, in the bu­siness of the Ambassadors of the Princes of Babylon, who sent unto him, to enquire of the wonder that was done in the Land, God left him, to try him, that he (i. e. Hezekiah) might know all that was in his Heart.

6, Another Benefit that we receive by Afflictions is, That they make us run to [Page 92] God: Fulness and Prosperity oft makes us forget God, and run away from him, but Afflictions generally drive us to him; and indeed is the only way to reclaim us. This the Prophet Hosea tells us, where God speaking of his People that had gone away from him, and follow'd Idols, threa­tens to bring Afflictions upon 'em; I will be as a Lyon, and as a Young Lyon to the House of Judah, I will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue. Would you know God's design herein? I will go, says he, and return to my Place, till they acknowledge their offences, and seek my Face: But when will that be? O, says God, In their Affliction they will seek me Early. When we are walking abroad in the Fields, and the Weather is good, we are not solicitous about a Place of shelter; but if a Storm arises, and a Shower comes, then we look out for a Shelter, and make haste unto it: God is call'd in the Scripture, A Covert from the Storm and from the Rain, Isa. iv. 6. And therefore when the Tempest of God's Wrath ari­ses, and the Storm of his Anger is pour'd [Page 93] upon the World, whither shall we run for safety, but to Him who is a Covert from the storm and from the rain? At such times especially we run to God, as to our great Assylum and Refuge; knowing that under the shadow of his Wings we shall be safe. Thus it was in the Wilder­ness with the Israelites; a stiff-necked ge­neration, continually provoking God by their unbelief; and this they did to that degree, that God often sent his Judg­ments amongst them, by which many of them were destroyed; and these Affli­ctions made them seek after and run to God; for so the Psalmist tells, Psal. lxxviii. 34. When he slew them, then they sought him; and they returned, and enquired ear­ly after God. And tho' the Psalmist tells us, that they did but flatter him with their Mouth, and lied unto him with their Tongue, and that their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his Covenant; yet this running of theirs to him in the time of their affliction, did so far prevail with God, that he being full of Compassion destroyed them not; but turned his Anger [Page 94] away, and did not stir up all his Wrath. And David himself frequently professes that God was his Refuge in time of Trou­ble, whereto he did continually resort. So that this is certainly a great Advantage that we gain by Afflictions, that they drive us to God, to whom we fly for Refuge, and where we find Security.

7. There is also this Advantage in Af­flictions, That by means of them we come to live in the daily exercise of all Ver­tues; which without Afflictions we could not do: This St. Paul affirms, Rom. v. 3. We glory in Tribulations also, knowing that Tribulation worketh Patience; and Pati­ence, Experience; and Experience, Hope; and Hope maketh not ashamed: This is the natural Consequence of Afflictions; for then we live in the Exercise of Faith, by believing Gods Promise, that all things shall work together for our Good; and relying upon him for our Deliverance: We live in the Exercise of Hope, by an assured Expectation of the Reward pro­mised to them that suffer: And in the Exercise of Charity, by having our hearts [Page 95] inflam'd with the love of Christ, who gave himself for us, whereby we are made willing to offer up our selves a Free-will-Offering to him, both in Life and Death: Our Patience is Exercis'd in suffering the Will of God, with Quietness and Resignation of Soul; and our Humility, by abasing our selves in the sight of God, and being willing to suffer shame for his sake.

8. ANOTHER Advantage that we reap by Afflictions (which is the last I shall mention, because I affect brevity) is, That when they have brought forth in us the Peaceable Fruits of Righteous­ness, our Mouths (and our Hearts too) shall be filled with Songs of Deliverance: Thus David rejoyc'd in God, Psal. LIX. 16. I will sing of thy Power, yea, I will sing aloud of thy Mercy in the Morning; for thou hast been my Defence and Refuge in the Day of my Trouble: The Children of Israel had been kept a long time in the House of Bondage, in the Land of Egypt, where they were made to serve with Rigor: But with what Songs of Praise were their [Page 96] Mouths filled, upon their Deliverance! How did they exult in the Lord, and glory in the God of their Salvation! There had been no occasion for those Songs of Deliverance, had they not been kept in Bondage! Nor had they seen the Power of God so wonderfully display'd on their behalf, which made them cry out, Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods! Who is like unto thee! Glorious in Holiness, Fearful in Praises, doing Wonders! Had King David come to the Crown without meeting with those Troubles that preceded it, he had not been so sensibly affected with God's Mercy in Delivering him, as he was, nor in all probability have writ that excellent Song of Praise recited both in 2 Sam. xxii. and in Psal. xviii. Intituled, A Psalm of David the Servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this Song, in the Day that the LORD Deliver'd him from the hand of all his Enemies, and from the hand of Saul: In which he first gives an Account of his great Distresses; for, says he, The Sorrows of Death compassed me, [Page 97] and the floods of ungodly Men made me a­fraid; nay, he goes further than this, and tells us, The sorrows of Hell compassed him about, and the snares of Death prevented him: And then exults in GOD for his great Deliverance; The Lord was my stay: By Thee have I run through a Troop; by my GOD have I leaped over a Wall: As for GOD, his way is perfect: The Word of the LORD is tried: He is a Buckler to all those that trust in Him: For who is GOD save the LORD? Or who is a Rock save our GOD? The LORD liveth, and blessed be my Rock, and let the GOD of my Sal­vation be exalted: It is GOD that aveng­eth me, and subdueth the People under me— He delivereth me from mine Enemies: Yea, Thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: Thou hast delivered me from the Violent Man: Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the Heathen, and sing Praises unto thy Name: Great Deliverance giveth He to his King, and sheweth mercy to his Anointed, to David and to his Seed, for evermore. Thus Da­vid's being delivered out of his Troubles, [Page 98] fill'd his mouth with Songs of Deliver­ance to his great Deliverer. [GOD is the same GOD still, and has the same Power to save, and the same Bowels of Compassion to shew Mercy. Let us there­fore lift up our Eyes and our Hearts to Him: We have been long looking to Men; but they have prov'd but as broken Reeds, that have rather pierc'd our hands, than holpen us: We have experienc'd the Truth of what David long ago af­firmed, That Men of low degree are Vanity, and Men of high degree are a Lye: And therefore let us all say as he does, Psal. LXII. 5. My Soul wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.]—But to proceed: It is (as I have said before) none of the least Benefit of Afflictions, That it makes deliverance more sweet to us: For as after a great drouth, a shower of Rain is more refreshing to the Earth; or when we are extream thirsty, a draught of Drink is sweeter to us; and a Calm is ren­dred more pleasant and acceptable to Passengers, after a troublesome Tempest; so will our deliverance be more grateful [Page 99] to us, after we have been exercis'd with great and sore Afflictions. Thus in the LXVIII. Psalm, and the 13th vers. Tho' ye have lien among the Pots, (like Sons of Clay, esteem'd as the filth of the World, and the off-scouring of all things) yet (when your Deliverance shall come) ye shall be as the Wings of a Dove cover­ed with Silver, and her Feathers with yel­low Gold: i. e. Ye shall be so much the more bright and glorious; and for every Sorrow you underwent in the time of your Affliction, you shall receive redou­bled Consolations after your Deliverance. And this Deliverance will come in due time, if with Faith and Patience we be found waiting for it: For tho' Heaviness may endure for a Night, yet Ioy will come in the Morning; especially if we let Pati­ence have its perfect work: But if through impatience we seek to hasten it, we shall but retard it; for he that believeth, ma­keth not haste.—And that we may the more quietly submit to the good Plea­sure of GOD, and rest satisfied in his Wise Disposal of things, our next Me­ditation [Page 100] shall be of our Resignation to the Will of GOD.

The Soul's Expostulation.

LET us now, O my Soul, a little Contemplate on the adorable Wis­dom of GOD, who is wonderful in Counsel, and excellent in working; whose way is in the Sea, and his Path in the great Waters, and his footsteps are not known: Since then, O my Soul, his Judgments are such a great deep, that all the Lines of a created Understanding can never fa­thom them, Is it not much better to ac­cept of his Fatherly Chastisements, than to quarrel with his Proceedings? Present Afflictions may be far better than a Pro­sperous Condition, if thou hast Wisdom to improve 'em to the end for which GOD designs 'em. Will it be a Mercy to be made conformable to thy blessed Redeemer, who first suffered, and then entered into his glory? And will it not be thy happiness to have the same mind in thee as was in Christ Jesus? And if [Page 101] Afflictions do this, surely thou oughtest to Thank God for Afflictions, and re­joyce that thou art counted worthy to be a Partaker of Christ's sufferings. Again, If by Afflictions thy heart be weaned from the World, and thy Affections set upon the things above, where there are better and more durable Treasures, thou art certainly an infinite Gainer by the Bar­gain. And if outward ease and Prospe­rity has caused thee to contract sinful ha­bits and evil Diseases, which are purged away by Afflictions, what reason hast thou to complain? Or if God by his afflicting hand hedge up thy way with Thorns; that thou canst not do all the Evil that is in thy heart, is not this the greatest Mercy that can happen to thee? And if by outward sufferings thou approvest the sincerity of thy heart to God, oughtest thou not to rejoyce therein? Thou canst not but know, O my Soul, how apt thou art to start aside from GOD, like a de­ceitful Bow; and if to Cure thee of that Evil, the Floods of Affliction, like those of great Waters, do arise, and force thee [Page 102] to run to God as thy strong hold, for safe­ty and Refuge, is there not a hand of Mercy to be eyed therein, which thou oughtest thankfully and humbly to adore? And likewise, if Afflictions cause thee to live in the Exercise of Faith, Hope, Cha­rity, Patience, Humility, and other Di­vine Graces, thou hast exceeding reason to be thankful to God, and to say with David, It is good for me I have been Af­flicted. Lastly, O my Soul, consider how pleasant it will be to look back, up­on the various Issues of Divine Providence, when God shall have wrought Deliver­ance for thee? How wilt thou then, O my Soul, exalt and magnify the Lord, and rejoyce in God thy Saviour? Thou art now apt to blame the Conduct of Divine Providence, and to say with good old Iacob, All these things are against me: But then thou wilt be of another mind, and conclude that he hath done all things well, so that it could not be done better; and break forth into that Pathetical Ex­clamation of the holy Apostle, O the depth of the Riches both of the Wisdom and Know­ledge [Page 103] of God! How unsearchable are his Iudgments, and his ways past finding out! And thence conclude with him, That of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: To whom be glory for ever. Amen.


GRACIOVS and Merciful Father, help me thy poor unworthy Creature to adore thee for that Goodness and Mercy which thou hast been pleased to Vouchsafe to me, by all the various Methods of thy Pro­vidence towards me; and more particularly for those Afflictions which it has pleased thee to Visit me withal: O Lord be thou pleased to make them effectual for those gra­cious Ends and Purposes designed by Thee; That by them I may be made more confor­mable to my Lord and Saviour Iesus Christ, who was a Man of Sorrow, and acquainted with Grief; and who learned Obedience by the things that he suffered; and having suf­fered, entered into his glory; and that by them also I may find my Heart and Affecti­ons drawn off from the love of the World, [Page 104] because the Friendship of the World is En­mity to God; but grant, O Lord, that my Affections may be raised, and set upon things above, even where my blessed Redeemer sits at thy right hand; that so when he shall appear, I also may appear with him in glo­ry: Grant also, O Lord, That tho' no Af­fliction at the present is Ioyous but Grie­vous, my Afflictions may be so tempered with the Oyl of Mercy by the great Physician of my Soul, that they may purge out all those sinful Distempers and Evil Habits that Prosperity and Ease has caus'd me to con­tract, that so being purged from my Sins, and refined in the Furnace of Affliction, I may come forth like Gold. And seeing my Foolish and Deceitful Heart is so ready to run after Lying Vanities, let thy Chastise­ments be as so many Thorns to hedge up my Way, that so being stopt from running into the Paths of the Destroyer, my Soul may be like a Garden inclosed, a Spring shut up, and a Fountain sealed: And blessed Lord, grant also that by my Patient continuance in well doing, under thy Afflicting hand, I may Evidence the sincerity of my Love to­towards [Page 105] thee; which the Waters of Affli­ction can never quench, nor all the Floods of Tribulation drown. And tho' former Prosperity has caus'd me to forget thee; yet let this storm that it has pleased thee in thy Righteous Iudgment to bring upon me, cause me to fly unto thee for shelter, who art a Covert from the Storm and from the Rain; and my only Refuge and Rock of Defence, where I can be safe against the fear of Evil. And as the depressing of a Palm­tree makes it grow the Straighter, and the treading of Cammomile makes it smell the Sweeter, so let my present Afflictions cause the Graces of thy holy Spirit in me to send forth the greater Fragrancy, and to appear more Eminently: And further be pleased to grant, O Lord, through thy Wise and all-Disposing Providence, these light Afflictions that are but for a moment, may work out for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory: And that when thou shalt graciously please to accomplish all the pur­poses of thy Grace towards me by thy Affli­cting hand, and caused thine Anger towards me to cease, that my Mouth may be filled with [Page 106] Songs of Diliverance, That I may say with thy Servant of Old, Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is within me bless his holy Name; Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and forget not all his Benefits, who for­giveth all thine Iniquities, who healeth all thy Diseases, who redeemeth thy Life from Destruction, and Crowneth thee with loving Kindness and tender Mercies! Grant this, O Lord, for the sake of Iesus Christ, thy blessed and only Son, who for the Ioy that was set before him, endured the Cross, and despised the Shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. To whom, with thee, O Father, and the Eter­nal Spirit, be ascribed all Honour, Glory, Power and Praise, World without End. Amen.

Meditation VI.
Of our Resignation to the Will of God.

OUR Blessed Saviour, in that most Excellent Form of Prayer he has taught us, has made this one Principal Petition in it, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven: And tho' I hope we all make use of this Prayer, yet how few of us are there that understand what we ask? Tho' there is nothing more pleasing to God, nor nothing that tends more to the Establishment of our own quiet, than this Resignation of our Wills to the Will of God, which we therein pray for: For could we in times of greatest Trouble, and at the lowest Ebb of Affliction, con­sider that it is the Will of God, without whom nothing comes to pass, and whose alone Will is the Rule of all Righteous­ness, that consideration would soon allay all those storms of Passion and Discon­tent, which are so ready to arise in our [Page 108] Souls under such Dispensations of Pro­vidence, and make all calm and quiet there. And this was that which silenc'd all the Complaints of Gods People in the Days of Old, when they were even cover'd with the Cloud of his Anger. Of which, tho' many Instances might be given, I shall confine my self to a few.

AND the first shall be that of old Eli the Priest, who was a good Man, but too indulgent a Father his wicked Chil­dren, —who thereby took Encouragement to sin; by which God was so provok'd, that he sent Samuel to Eli with such a Message as was enough to make his Ears to tingle; importing no less than the de­struction of him and his house, and that the Iniquity of his house should not be pur­ged with Sacrifice nor Offering for Ever, because his Sons had made themselves Vile, and he restrained them not. And yet even under so heavy a Message as this was, the good old Man resigns himself up to the Will of God, saying, It is the LORD, let him do what seemeth him good.

[Page 109] A Second Instance shall be that of King David, when he was forced to fly from the Rebellion which Absalom (his own Son) had rais'd against him. Absalom having aspir'd to the Kingdom, and wheedled the People out of their Loy­alty and Allegiance, upon a Pretence of the Mismanagement of his Father, telling those that came to the King for Judg­ment in any Cause, That there was no Man deputed of the King to hear them, and then wishing he was made Iudge in the Land, that he might do them Iustice: By which sly Insinuations he had stolen a­way the hearts of the Isralites from his Father: And when by these ill Practices, things were ripe for an Open Rebellion, Religion too must be brought in for a Part, and a Vow to the Lord is pretended to be paid at Hebron, on which pretence Absalom having obtain'd leave to depart from the King, blows the Trumpet of Rebellion throughout all Israel, and makes himself King in Hebron. This News be­ing brought to David, he finds himself in Danger from his Rebellious Son, and [Page 110] thereupon resolves to Abdicate the Royal City of Ierusalem, to which Absalom was hastening as fast as he could. In this flight of the King, he had several of his Loyal Subjects to attend him, and among them were Zadok and Abiathar the Priests, and the honest Levites with the Ark of God: But the good King, (who was more con­cern'd for the Ark of God than for him­self) knowing that God had chosen the Gates of Zion before all the Dwellings of Iacob, would by no means suffer the Ark to be carried after him, but sends it back again into the City; (not knowing how God might deal with him) with this Noble Resignation of himself to the Will of God: Carry back (says he to Zadock) the Ark of God into the City; if I shall find Favour with the Lord, he will bring me again, and shew me both it and his habi­tation: But if he thus, say, I have no de­light in thee; behold here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him. This is a truly Royal Example, and well worthy Imitation.

A Third Instance of this Resignation [Page 111] of our Wills to the Will of God, shall be that of King Hezekiah, who after his Recovery from Sickness, having Recei­ved the Congratulatory Ambassadors of Merodach Baladan the King of Babylon, was so pleas'd with the Honour which he thought was thereby done him, that he shewed the Ambassadors the House of his Precious Things, the Silver, and the Gold, and the Spices, and the Precious Oint­ment, and all the House of his Armour, and all that was found in his Treasure. But this thing was displeasing to the Lord, who saw Hezekiah had his heart lifted up thereby, and therefore he sends the Prophet Isaiah to him, with this hea­vy Message, Behold the days come, that all that is in thine House, and that which thy Fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, saith the Lord: And of thy Sons that shall Issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away, and they shall be Eunuchs in the Palace of the King of Babylon. Wou'd we know now how Hezekiah took this doleful Message? Why [Page 112] instead of fretting against God, or going about to excuse himself, he resigns him­self up to the good pleasure of God, say­ing to the Prophet Isaiah, Good is the Word of the Lord which thou hast spoken; For there shall be Peace and Truth in my Days.

THE Fourth and last Instance I shall mention, shall be that Illustrious One of our Blessed Saviour: Who being under a sense of Divine Wrath, in that bitter A­gony and Bloody Sweat which he un­derwent for our Sins, in the Garden, and which none but himself could have born, (for it would have crush'd all Mankind into Nothing, and all the Angels too, to have lain under it) he prayed to his Fa­ther, saying, If it be possible let this Cup Pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt. Matth. xxvi. 39. And in the 42d vers. he went away again, praying the second time, and said, O my Father, if this Cup may not pass away ex­cept I drink it, Thy Will be done: And in vers. 44. He prayed again the third time, saying the same words.

[Page 113] THIS is indeed the greatest Instance of Resignation to the Divine Will, that can be given. And after such an Instance, sure none can deny that it is a Christi­ans Duty. Nor is it more our Duty than it is our Priviledge: For when our Wills are thus resigned to the Will of God, there is no cross Accident that can sur­prize us, nor no Affliction trouble us; because we have given our selves up to his Disposal, who best knows how to or­der all things for us; and are secur'd in so doing, that all things shall work to­gether for our good.

THIS Resignation of Soul to the Will of God, consists principally in an absolute Acquiescence to the Divine Plea­sure, in every State and Condition of Life; whereby we are willing that God should chuse that Condition which he sees best for us; whether it be Sickness or Health, Life or Death, Poverty or Riches, Honour or Disgrace: And this without Murmuring, or Repining, or Thinking we are not well dealt with, or that we cou'd have provided better for [Page 114] our selves; but on the contrary we ought to think our present Condition the best for us, be it what it will, because it is the Result of Divine Providence; and this requires, or supposes in us, a sted­fast belief of God's Governing the World, and ordering all Affairs in it according to the Counsel of his own Will. And he that by a stedfast Faith in God (be­lieving him to be the most Wise, most Powerful, most Just, most Merciful and Beneficent Being) has resign'd himself up to his Disposal, is prepar'd for all Events; and tho' he may lose Crowns, Kingdoms, Riches, Honours, Friends, Relations, and all things else which are look'd upon as outward Blessings, yet he can never lose that inward Peace of Conscience and Satisfaction of Mind, which the World can neither give nor take away.

The Soul's Expostulation.

CONSIDER, O my Soul, if thy Resignation to the Divine Will, be so absolute a Duty, what progress thou hast made therein; and whether thou hast so given up thy self to the Will of God, to be absolutely at his Disposal: That thou art so, is indeed unquestionable; and so are the Devils too; for notwithstanding all their Rage, and all their Malice, they cannot break those Chains of Darkness wherein they are bound, to the Judgment of the great Day; But they have not resign'd their Wills unto his, but on the contrary do whatever they can to oppose it, tho in Vain—But, O my Soul, is thy being at the Disposal of Divine Providence, the effect of thy Choice, as well as of God's Power? If it be so, 'tis what it ought to be: But then, what means this bleating of the Sheep, and lowing of the Oxen, as Samuel said to Saul in another case? What means all this murmuring and re­pining [Page 116] at thy present Condition? What means that hankering after those Honours, Riches, and Pleasures, that thou Enjoy­edst heretofore? And thy present Un­easiness under the want of them? Do'st thou believe that thy present Circum­stances are the Result of the Divine Provi­dence, and what God thinks best for thee? Then let thy Mouth be stopt for ever; For nothing can be more unrea­sonable than to complain: How prepo­sterous is it, O my Soul, to pray to God, Thy Will be done; and yet when it is done, to murmur? This seems strongly to insi­nuate, that thou art no further willing God's Will should be done, than as it suits with thine; which is the Reverse of what thou hast pray'd for. Therefore, O my Soul, either leave off Praying Thy Will be done, or cease to let thy Practice thus contradict thy Prayers. Remember, O my Soul, that it is the foolishness of Man that perverteth his way, and makes his heart to fret against the Lord. And take heed lest thy repining makes thee appear to be such a one. Is it not far [Page 117] better to give up thy self to his Conduct, by an intire Resignation of thy Will to his, who better knows how to order thy Affairs, than thou thy self do'st? So may the bitter Draught of Affliction be made a wholesome Potion to thee; whereby thou may'st Experience the Truth of Sampson's Riddle, Out of the Eater comes forth Meat, and out of the Strong comes forth Sweetness.


O Almighty and Eternal God, who wor­kest all things according to the Coun­sel of thy own blessed Will, and whose Will is the Rule of all Righteousness; Look down in Mercy upon a poor and worthless Sinner before thee, whose heart was lifted up, and forgot God, in the time of my Prosperity; and therefore thou hast justly depriv'd me of those Mercies which I did not Improve to thy Praise: And since I would not serve thee in the fulness of all things, it is but just I shou'd serve thee in the want of them. And yet such is the Vainty and Deceitfulness [Page 118] of my heart, that I am now apt to repine against thy Providence, and fret against thee for what thou hast done, instead of Kissing thy Rod, and Submitting to thy Fatherly Chastisements: O therefore be thou pleased to subdue this Rebellious heart of mine, and by an intire Resignation of my Soul to thy Soveraign Disposal, cause me to rest satisfied in every condition into which it shall please thee to bring me: And however things may seem to me, through the blind­ness of my Mind, and the Darkness of my Vnderstanding, to go contrary to my Inte­rest, yet make me to know, O Lord, that it is my great Interest to acquiesce in thy Will, who doest all things well. Pardon, I hum­bly beseech thee, the Stubbornness of my Heart, and the Vnwillingness of my Will to submit to thy good Pleasure; and make me sensible that there is nothing more ob­structs thy restoring of former Mercies to me, than my murmuring and repining at thy Present Dispensations. Give me therefore, O Lord, such a composedness of Spirit, that I may thankfully entertain whatever thou art further pleased to bring upon me, how [Page 119] hard soever it may seem to Flesh and Blood, and be made willing to say, The Will of the Lord be done. And if the blessed Angels, that are always in thy presence, and the Spirits of just Men made perfect, rejoyce in the ful­filling of thy Will, what am I, sinful Dust and Ashes, that I shou'd murmur and re­pine thereat! Help me, O Lord, to Consi­der, that, however my heart may fret against it, yet thy holy Will is the Result of In­finite Wisdom, as well as the Rule of all Righteousness: And that therefore it is both my Duty and Interest willingly to submit thereto. And help me also, O Lord, to believe, That when thou hast humbled me by thy present Providences, and brought me to lie at thy foot, in a due sense of my own Vn­worthiness, and a just acknowledgment of the Righteousness of thy dealings towards me, that thou wilt again cause the Light of thy Favour to shine upon me, and make the Bones that thou hast broken, to rejoyce. Grant this, O Lord, and whatsoever else thou seest needful for me, for the sake of Iesus Christ, thy beloved Son, and my alone Savi­our, who has further taught me to pray, say­ing, Our Father &c.

[Page 120] HAVING by the afore-going Me­ditations Endeavour'd to shew the Uncertainty and Emptiness of our for­mer Enjoyments, and consider'd the Na­ture and Causes of Afflictions, and how far by our Sins we have brought them up­on our selves; and also shewn you the Advantages that accrew to us by a Pati­ent continuance under them; and laid before you both our Duty and Interest, in an intire Resignation of our Souls to the Will of God, under the Darkest Dis­pensations of Divine Providence; I shall in the next Place, as what I think will be very seasonable, furnish you with a Manual of Devotions upon all occasions, fitted for Times of Trouble, to render it more Proper for our present use.—And conclude with some general Rules for our Daily Practice; and so leave the whole to the Blessing of God, who alone is able to make it effectual to the End for which it is design'd.

A Manual of Devotions FOR Times of Trouble and Affliction. Morning-Prayer. Psal. LXXI, LXXIII, LXXIV: Or CXXIV, CXXV, CXXVI, CXXIX.
Proper Lessons. Dan. IX. or Ezra. IX. and X. to Vers. 7. or 2 Chron. XXXVI. Ier. XIV. Luk. XXI.

A Collect Confessing and Deprecating Iudg­ments.

O Lord we are brought into Times of great Sorrow and Affliction, and we have seen Violence and Spoil [Page 122] before our Eyes: Our Houses are full of Mourning, and our Hearts of bitter La­mentation: And tho' thy Temples are not shut up, yet several of thy Ministers are shut out of thy Temples! Dearest Lord! These things are due to our Sins; Thou art Just and Righteous in thy Dealings, but we are sinful and wicked: For we have sinned against the great Means of thy Grace, and the Mercies of they Goodness for many years Vouchsafed to us, and to our Fathers before us: Not­withstanding which, we are full of Hy­pocrisie, full of Prophaness, full of Lewd­ness, and most Abominably wicked: And I, even I, have contributed by a great measure of my Sins, to fill up those Woes. But O God! That art Mer­ciful, as thou art Just, (that delightest not so much to appear Just as Merciful) Pardon those Sins of ours that cause these Woes, and pardon those Sins of mine which concur to that Cause! And with the pardon of our Sins, grant us a release of our Punishments: Let all Feuds and Animosities cease, and true Piety and [Page 123] Peace flourish again amongst us! Thou that out of Evil canst work Good, and out of Confusion didst set up the Order of the World, be pleas'd out of those Evils and Confusions that are upon us, to bring forth a blessed Establishment for us! O thou King of Kings, and Judge of the World, plead the Cause of thy Servants to the faces of all those who seek to distress and destroy us! And do thou from Heaven own us in our Extre­mity, and deliver us! O thou that Pow­erfully canst, Mercifully do this for us: To the Honour of thy great Name, and to the Comfort and Happiness, both in Body and Soul, of us and ours, and all that truly fear and love thee, and true Religion in and for Thee! Even for thy Tender Mercies sake, hear us; and for the Precious Blood and Passion of our dearest JESUS, help us! Even for his sake, in whose Merits and Mediation alone stands all our Hope and Help, thy dear Son, our only Saviour, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for Preservation of the Church.

O Lord, the Church is thy Body, and thou art her Head; She is thy Spouse, and thou art her Hus­band; O save thine own Body, preserve thine own Spouse! Protect her from all Enemies, Men and Devils! Keep her from all Ills, Errors and Dangers! Thou didst Purchase thy self a Church at the Price of thy Blood, O let no hand seiz and spoil so dear a Purchase!

MORE particularly, O Lord, hear my Prayers for that part thereof in this Nation: The Petition of a poor unwor­thy Child for a dear distressed Mother! Many, O Lord, are the Enemies that wou'd destroy it, and few are the Friends that it has to defend it; Strong are the Arms that are ready to pull it down, and weak are the hands that are willing to uphold it: But, O Powerful God, do not thou desert it! Uphold it with thy mighty Arm! Maintain the Religion Established amongst us; and thy holy [Page 125] Truth and Worship in that Religion! Maintain a Clergy that may be able by Learning and a holy Life, to defend thy Truth and Worship; and the Means that may continue such a Clergy: Let not Er­ror and Heresie corrupt it, Ignorance blind it, Superstition infect it, Prophaness over-grow it, Schism tear it, Sacriledge devour it, Atheism lay it waste, Perse­cution make it desolate. Lord make us as happy as we were, and more thank­ful, and less sinful, that we may be so happy! Let Errors vanish, Sects cease, Fury leave us, and the Spirit of Truth and Love again possess us! Let Confu­sions end, and all Irreverences in thy Ser­vice be banish'd from us, and holy Order and Decency be more regarded amongst us. Let Divisions be cemented, and Names of Reproach buried in Oblivion, and the Voice of True Peace and Joy be heard again in our Land. Lord, let us have that Religion which may make us happy in Heaven, and that True Peace which may give Time and Leave to En­joy that Religion! And to that end, let [Page 126] Power be Establish'd upon Righteous­ness, and Employ'd for the Preservation of thy Church and People; and then maintain that Power and them! O Thou, by whom Kings Reign, who hast promi­sed to make them Nursing Fathers, to thy Church, Grant us these Blessings, to the Glory of thy Name, the Quiet of our Lives, and the Saving of our Souls! Even for thy dear Son our Saviour's Sake. Amen.

A Prayer for Mercy to the Nation.

O Lord, we are a Nation not to be beloved, a Nation ready to be ruined for our Iniquities, and for our Sins thou may'st justly destroy us, both Prince and People! But spare us, good Lord, spare us for thy Mercy sake! Let the Blood of Jesus Expiate all our Guilts, and the Spirit of Jesus amend our Misdoings! O thou who wouldst not have one Sinner Dye, suffer not Milli­ons of poor Souls to perish! Be recon­ciled to us in a Meditators Blood, and [Page 127] be the Reconciler of us in a firm and blessed Peace! God of Pity and Peace, be at Peace with us, and make it for us, Even that Peace which none can take from us, do thou make us Partakers of, O thou holy One of God, who camest into the World to take away the Sins of it. O thou Prince of Peace, pity a poor Church and Nation, ready to Perish! Pity that Church that hath so long main­tain'd thy Truth and Worship in the Na­tion; Pity them who are ready to perish for seeking to maintain thy holy Truth and Worship in thy Church! And do thou from Heaven Preserve It, and Us, and Them. O thou that hast the Power of Heaven and Earth in thy hand, who stillest the raging of the Sea, when the Waves thereof roar and lift up them­selves, make bare thy holy Arm for our Deliverance; O God make haste to help us, for we are brought very low; stir up thy strength and come and save us, and make no long tarying, O our God, but deliver us for thy Mercy sake. Amen.

A Prayer for those that are in great Distress and Danger.

O God of Power and Pity, who hast promis'd to regard the Prayer of the destitute, and not to despise their Cry, Look down, O Lord, from thy Sanctuary, from the Heavens do thou be­hold the Earth, to hear the groaning of the Prisoners, and to loose those that are in danger of Death: Rescue them from the rage of Violence, and shew thy self Merciful to them in this time of their distress, O thou Preserver of Men! And grant them all Graces and Mercies need­ful for the saving of their Souls! And let them glorifie thee both in Life and Death, and do thou glorifie them with Life Eternal, through the Merits and Righteousness of Jesus Christ our Lord. In whose blessed Name I further beg for Mercy for all that suffer in these Times of Trouble: Chiefly for those that are Destitute, for the Widows and the Fa­therless: Let thy Mercy be extended to [Page 129] them, in the daily supplying of their se­veral Wants and Necessities: Take them into thy peculiar Care, O thou Father of the Fatherless, and Judge of the Widow: And be thou their Comfort, Help and Succour, for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.

A Collect for Grace.

O God I can ask no greater Gift than thy Glory, and therefore beg no better Gift than thy Grace; yea, even this perfect, is nothing else but that: Nor can I come at it but by the way of Grace. I do therefore for Jesus Christ his sake, beseech thee bestow on me this blessed Gift, Grace to do thee Service on Earth, that thou may'st give me thy Sal­vation in Heaven, through the Merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Peace.

O God, my poor Soul is an humble Suitor for Peace; the Blood of Jesus is my Plea, thy Spirit my Advocate: I deserve by my Sins Eternal Enmity, but for thy dear Sons sake, have Favour for me: By whom the World is Attoned, O let me be Reconciled to thee! I know not how to pray this as I ought, but thy Spirit can make Effectual Inter­cession for me. Lord let thy Spirit move, and thy Son make my Peace. Subdue my Lusts; Conquer Satan for me that my Conscience may have Peace with thee, and I in it, by thy Grace, through the Mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Health.

O Lord, when I am Sick, let me think I may Die; when I am in Health, that I may be Sick; that I may not mis­spend the stock of my Life, but do thee Ho­nour [Page 131] with my Health, and thou mayst give me Comfort for it in my Sickness: Even this, that Sin hath not bound me to my Bed, but thy Providence hath cast me down, which can and will lift me up, or to Health in this World, or to Happiness in a better. Such an Enjoyment of Health give me, I beseech Thee, for Iesus Christ his sake. Amen.

A Collect for Safety.

O Lord, so many days as I live, so many Lives I owe Thee; Thou re­newest my Lease every day; A poor Tenant at thy Will, I am; and a frail Cot­tage of Clay, by thy Power I keep: Lord, thou hast hitherto spar'd me, still preserve me; and let me pay (as I can) what I owe of Service, the only Rent thou requi­est, for Tenement and Appurtenances, Life, Health, Wealth, and all the good things I have of thee, for which thou both grantest Term of Life, and givest Eternity. This to that, continue, I beseech thee, for his sake, who was Surety, and is sole Purchaser for me, Iesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Friends.

O Lord, graciously accept my Pray­ers for all my Kindred and Friends: Do thou good unto them all, O God. To those that Err, shew thy Truth; and those that see it, keep from Error: To those that do amiss, give Grace to do better; and those that do well, continue in so doing: To those that are Afflicted, give Comfort and De­liverance; to those that Prosper, Humi­lity and Temperance: Bless the Sick with Health, and the Healthy from Sickness: Supply those that want; and let those that want not, give Supply: To all, grant thy Grace, O God, and shew thy Mercy: Let Love bind us one to ano­ther, and Religion knit us all to Thee; that all who are of Natural Kindred, may meet in Heavenly Consanguinity: Even so, Lord, let the Blood of Jesus run through all the Veins, and the Spirit of Jesus go along with the Blood, that the Glory of Jesus may be the End of us all. [Page 133] And that hower we suffer and scatter on Earth, we may Live and Joy together in the Bliss and Felicity of Heaven, by the Union of that holy Spirit, and Commu­nion of that blessed Blood. Amen and Amen.

A Collect for the Catholick Church.

O God of Peace, send Unity among all that Profess thy Name: As they have but one Head, let them be but one Body; as they are but one Body, let them have but one Spirit: The Spirit of Truth and Holiness, in Doctrine and Life, be in all: Cease Schisms and Wars in the Christian World: Let them not Spill one anothers Blood, for whom thy Son shed his. Let there not be many Hearts under one Head, nor more Heads with it, least they make a Massacre in thy Body, or a Monster of it. O let thy Scepter have Obedience, and thine Or­ders Observance, every where. Suffer none by Delusion or Depravation of Mind, or Ambition of Spirit, to pull down [Page 134] thy Throne, whilst they pretend for thy Scepter; and take down thy House to set up thy Glory; and let Confusion and Tyranny into thy Church, whilst they profess to bring in Liberty and Order. From Violence, Avarice, Sacriledge, Schism, Herefie, Anarchy, and Tyranny, O thou King of the Church, do thou keep us. Do thou Govern us, and let us O­bey thee; Do thou save us, and let us serve thee; Even all Christian Souls save throughout the World, Dear Jesus. Amen.

A Charitable Prayer, for Times of Affliction.

O Lord, that do'st not willingly afflict the Children of Men; Behold from thy holy Habitation of Heaven, the multitude of Miserable and Afflicted Souls and Lives amongst us, and have Mercy upon us.

HAVE Mercy on all Ignorant Souls, and instruct them; on all Deluded Minds, and Enlighten them; on all Seducing and [Page 135] Seduced Spirits, and Convert them. Have Mercy on all broken Hearts, and heal them; all strugling with Temptation, and Rescue them: All languishing in spiritual Deser­tion, and receive them: Have mercy on all that stagger in Faith, and Establish them: That are fallen from thee, and Raise them; That stand with thee, and Confirm them: Have Mercy on all that groan under their Sins, and Ease them; That bless themselves, and go on in their Wickedness, and Curb and stop them. Iesus! That did'st shed thy Blood for all Souls, to save them; shed thy holy Spirit on all, and heal them.

AND Lord, have Mercy on all Mise­rable Bodies! Those that are ready to fa­mish, for want, Feed them▪ Those that are bound to Beds of Pain, loose them: Those that are in Prison and Bonds, Release them: Those that are under the Fury of Persecu­tion, and Cry under the Yoke of Oppression, Relieve them: Those that lie smarting in their Pain and Wounds, Cure them! Those that are distracted in their Thoughts and Wits, Settle them! Those that are in Perils of their Estates and Lives, Preserve them▪ [Page 136] Iesus! That didst freely distribute thy Comforts and Cures, to all Miseries and Maladies of Men, when thou wast on Earth, have Mercy on all, and help them; far or near, with us or from us; Lord, have Mer­cy on all, even every Son and Daughter of Adam, at this time in Pain and Anguish upon the face of the Earth, (where-ever they are, whosoever they be) what Help I would pray for my self from Thee, or Com­fort from Man in their Condition; I beseech Thee the GOD of all Help and Comfort, to give it them: Take them to thy Care, and Tender them, supply them, and Succour them. Have Compassion on them, and heal them: Iesus! That didst give thy Blood for them, deny not thy Bowels to them: Thou that didst Redeem them all, Preserve them: Even all Miserable Souls and Bo­dies, I beseech Thee for thine infinite Mer­cies sake. Amen

A Prayer against the Temptations of Troublesome Times.

O God who wilt not suffer us to be Tempted above what we are able to bear, succour me that the Tem­ptations of this Time of Trouble does not over-whelm me: Discover to me the ways of thy Providence so far, that I may see why I shou'd neither Deny it, nor Doubt it. And make me know thy Judgments to be so unsearchable, and thy ways past finding out, that I may humbly submit my Will to thy Wisdom, and admire and adore that Justice which I cannot Comprehend. Let me not be of so narrow a Mind as to confine thy Work to one World, which Thou do'st not finish but in Two: Nor let me be such a Creature of Sense, as to believe thou hast no other Reward or Punish­ment, than what I See and Feel. O let my Eyes look to the End of all, which is Heaven, or Hell: And let me Envy no Ill Mans Happiness, which shall end [Page 138] in Hell; Nor bewail any Good Mans Wretchedness, who shall have Heaven for his End. And let me understand that the Prosperity of Sinners is a heavy Plague, because it spurs them on to Hell, which is the greatest Punishment: And that the Adversity of the Saints is to them a Mer­cy, because it is thy Rod, to whip them into Heaven, the best Reward. Mean while let me not give a Brest full of thy Peace, for an Armful of that Wealth which breeds Nests of Vipers and Ad­ders in their Hearts, and continual Stings in their Bosoms: But let me Prefer the Sufferings of Innocence, before the Spoils and Triumphs of Violence.

O God, since a guilty Conscience is the greatest Punishment on Earth, because next to Hell; and Accusing and Con­demning thy Providence, and Forsaking my Innocence, the greatest Guilt, To that Extremity let no Temptation ever lead me. JESUS! keep me from it by thy Grace and Mercy. Amen.

The Concluding Prayer.

O Lord, it is thy Promise to grant whatsoever I ask in thy Sons Name; and thou wilt not per­form less, because I ask so in his Words. In his Blessed Breviary therefore I sum and offer up these my Imperfect Prayers; saying, as he hath taught me, Our Father which art in Heaven, &c.

The Blessing.

GOD the Father Bless me; GOD the Son Defend me, GOD the Spirit Preserve Me, and all Mine and His, now and Evermore. Amen.

Proper Lessons. 2 Chron. XIII, or XX: 1 Cor. X. or Iudes Eistle.

A Collect or Prayer against Revenge.

O Thou to whom Vengeance belong­eth, Keep me from a Revenge­ful Spirit, that I fall not into the hands of thy Vengeance: And since it is thy Will that I should exercise Pity, and Patience, and Pardon, let me not study Revenge, and Returns of Injuries. What tho' I have lost my Estate wrong­fully, and been turn'd out of my Place for my Loyalty to the King, yet have I [Page 140] not justly deserved it for my Rebellion against thee my God? why shou'd I then Meditate Revenge against the Instruments whom thou, O Lord, hast made the just Executioners of thy will for my Deserts: O help me rather to look unto thee, who hast justly suffered these things to befal me for my sins, than to study Revenge against those that have Injur'd me. Thou, O most Meek and Merciful Saviour, didst pray for thy bloody Enemies! O let me then forgive my greatest Foes! Commit­ting my Cause to thee, who wilt do Justice for me on them, if I seek not to revenge my self; and for thy self upon me, if I do. Thine, O Lord, is the Sword of Vengeance, and thine is the sharpest Sword. O let me not dare to take it out of thy hand! Lest while I strike others, I fall justly by thy Sword. Tho' Flesh and Blood provoke me to it, let thy holy Spirit withhold me from it: And cast and keep out of me that Evil Spirit, by thy Power, O good God and Saviour, for thy infinite Mercies sake. Amen.

A Collect or Prayer against Malice.

O Thou Divine Goodness, that wouldst not have me be of a Revengeful Spi­rit, neither wouldst thou have me be of a Malicious Spirit; and therefore, O Lord, be pleased to keep me from Malice, which is the very Soul of Satan, and Sin of the Devil: Thou, O God, art Love, but he is Hatred; And if Malice be in me, I shall be as he is, even one whom (unless thou hatest thy self) thou canst not love: Thou hast commanded that I should love my Enemies, and wouldst not have me be malicious against them, nor bear them ill will for what they have done to me, but rather to pray for them; yea, tho' they use me despitefully, thou wouldst not have me be despiteful towards them. And therefore from such a hateful and damning Disposi­tion, O Lord, Deliver me: Let not Satan's Brand be on my Brest, and his Soul in my Body, lest being marked for him, he seiz me as his own. But, O Lord, do thou stamp me as thy own, and set the Seal of thy [Page 143] Love on my heart, that I may be owned by thee, and have thy Badge continually upon me, which is, That we love one another: O let me not wear the Devils Badge, in a visible or secret Malice to any. Make me, O Lord, a Child of thy Family, a Dove of thy Flock, without any Gaul or Rancor, a Lamb of thy Fold, harmless to all, and not doing Mischief to any; but delighting, like thy Blessed Self, to do good unto all; Even for his sake who is holy, harmless, and unde­filed, who did good to all, and Evil to none, even Iesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

A Collect for Grace.

O Thou that hast promised thy holy Spirit to them that ask it, give me thy Grace, O God; that be­ing strengthened thereby, I may with Courage and Constancy Engage all my Spiritual Enemies, and subdue them: That I may pass my Pilgrimage here in thy fear, and at last receive my Triumphs in thy Glory: Through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Peace.

O God of Peace which art incom­prehensible, give me Thy Peace, which passeth all understanding: Let me so live according to thy Rule, that I may have Peace with my Consci­ence; and let me be so ruled by thy Will and Word, that my Conscience may have Peace with Thee. Lord, make an Everlasting Peace with me, and let me never do that which has any Tenden­cy to break that League. Dear Jesus! Let it be Ratified and Confirmed in thy Blood, and maintain it in me by thy holy Spirit. Amen. Amen.

A Collect for Health.

IT is the wonder of thy Provi­dence, O Lord, that a Body sub­ject to thousands of Frailties, and Casualties every Day, should Enjoy Health or Life an Hour; yet through thy Mercy I have both at this instant. [Page 145] Lord, continue to me what I have, and let me so improve it to thy Honour, that thou mayst continue it; and suffer me not by any Sin to provoke thee to take it away from me, and to Smite me with Sickness. Hear me, I beseech thee, for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.

A Collect for Friends.

O Lord, it is Ioyful for Friends to love and live together on Earth; but the Ioy of all Ioys to live with thee in Heaven. I beseech thee let this hap­piness be the Portion of all whom thou hast made more Nearly and Dearly to be Mine. Let us so live in thy Service, that we may die in thy Salvation. In the mean while, what we want of any Earthly Good necessary for us, Give us: What is amiss, and of­fensive to thy Heavenly Majesty in any of us, Forgive us: What is requisite to make us so to serve thee now, that thou mayst save us then, in thy Bounty bestom upon us; Even Truth and Grace, aright to See and Seek thy Face, in Iesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for the Kingdom.

O Lord, Our Distractions threaten De­solations to us, Preserve us! Our sins cry aloud for thy Vengeance up­on us! Pardon us! Thy Mercies have been great to this Nation, O Lord remember them! Thy Deliverances of us have been many, O Lord Renew them! That Iniquity be not our utter Ruine, give us Repentance! The Guilt and Blood upon us, Forgive! Our Breaches, Repair! The Order which may bring Peace, Establish! The Govern­ment thou hast Establish'd, maintain! What is Iust and Right in thine Eyes, set up! What thou seest Evil, cast down! What makes the Nation miserable, Remove! What may make it happy, Restore! Lord, for thy Mercies sake, say, We have been miserable enough, and make us more happy. Let the Light of thy Countenance shine again upon us, and grant us thy Peace! The Power and Authority which may procure it, Pre­serve; and those to whom thou hast given that Power, Bless them to us, and us in [Page 147] them, and all in thee. For Iesus Christ his sake. Amen.

A Collect for the Church Catholick.

BEhold, O God and Father of our Lord Iesus Christ; I, a Christian, and Child of his True Catholick Church, Pray thy Mercies on my Good and great Mother, and all my Brethren, and her Children, in thee and thy Son. For Errors amongst them, send them Truth; For Schism, Vnity; For Superstition, Warrantable Worship; For Confusion, Order; For Prophaness, Piety; For Variance, Concord; for War, Peace; That all may, as one Body, with one Mind, and Heart, and Mouth, and Knee, Believe, Love, Confess, Adore, and so serve Thee, and Him whom thou hast sent, Iesus Christ, (the Great Lord and Common Saviour of us all) as thou mayst save us all in the World to come! O Thou Head of the Church, Save thy Body! By thy Blood, Cleanse it; by thy Spirit, Sanctifie it; by thy Power Preserve it, and every Limb of it, dear. Iesus! Amen.

A Collect for the Church.

O Christ, Head of thy Body the Church, let not this poor Member of it amongst us, Perish! What it is, Thou seest, Lord; with Pity behold us: What it was, thou knowest; O Lord in Mercy Restore us: Thy Primi­tive Order in Christian Truth and Wor­ship, for the saving of Souls, which is cast down, set up: The Present Confusions, Distractions, Innovations, Errors, which are got up, cast down: Set up thy Glory, O Lord, amongst us; And what is set apart to support it, do Thou maintain, and continue to us, and our Posterities after us, for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.

A Collect for Safety.

FORGIVE, O Lord, the Forfei­tures I have made of thy Protection, by the Wanderings of my Life: And tho I have not been (as I should) a Dutiful Child; yet be Thou, O Lord, (as Thou [Page 149] ever art) a Merciful Father: Forget not thy Fatherly Goodness to me, who pray thy Pardon for offending Thee, Thy Grace to serve Thee; and Thy Provi­dence to preserve me this Night, and Evermore, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for one in Affliction.

O Lord, That Affliction which is now my Lot, is the Result of thy good Pleasure, and as such let me Eye it, and improve it, to Reclaim me from Evil Ways, and to direct my course into those that are Good: If it be so grievous to bear it for a Time, what is it, O God, to suffer it, and ten thousand times more misery than it, for Ever! Then if it be ill, let it be thy Rod to reclaim me; and if Good, thy Staff to make me stand better in Grace, and advance me to thy Glory; Thy Fan to Purge me, Thy Fur­nace to Prove me. So Adversity to my Body, be the Prosperity of my Soul, let it come and Welcome, O Lord; that [Page 150] my Soul may at last, everlastingly Prosper with Thee, in that Day of Bliss which knows no Cloud of Ill, nor end of Good to Eternity. Since Affliction is a sign of thy Mercy, a Badge of thy Favour, and a means of Glory, let me not be Impa­tient under it, lest I perpetuate my Woes to two Worlds; and whom Thou hast but for a Time, make my self miserable for ever. Blessed Jesus! who didst go from a Cross to a Crown, and doest Cross me to Crown me, let me carry mine Pa­tiently that I may come to thy Throne, and not cast my self from a Cross of Woe, into a Gulph of Confusion. From such Miscarriages under my Present Affli­ctions, O Lord deliver me. Dear Jesus! By the Merits and Example of thy holy Cross, and by the Vertues and Works of thy holy Spirit, Do it for me, and Sanctifie it to me. Amen.

A Concluding Prayer.

BEhold, O Lord, what I have Pray­ed unto thee for, and grant, I hum­bly beseech thee, the Requests that I have put up unto Thee this Evening, and hear the Petitions of thy Servant: And do for me, for the Nation, for thy Church, and for all Estates and Conditions therein, not only according to what I have Prayed, but according to what I should and ought to have Prayed, and what any else have prayed with me, for Jesus Christ his sake, in whose Name I have presented them, with whose Words I desire to Perfume and Perfect my Prayers: Beseeching Thee, That his Spirit may breathe in those Words in which I know I Pray both what, and as I ought: And there­fore (as Devoutly) Confidently say, Our Father which art in Heaven, &c.

The Blessing.

BLESSED are the Afflicted and Troubled, and those that mourn un­der those Calamities we feel and fear: The Blessing and Comfort of God the Father, and the Grace of our Lord Iesus Christ, and the Consolations of the holy Spirit, be upon me, and upon all such sad and sorrow­ful Souls with me, this Night and Ever­more. Amen.

Meditations and Prayers. FOR THE NOLY COMMUNION, BOTH Before, At, and After Receiving.

A Meditation before the Receiving the holy Communion.

O My dear Lord! Thy Passion makes me full of all Passions! I am in Love, and yet I Hate; I have my Longings and my Loathings: I both Re­joyce and Grieve, and Cherish Hope and Fear! I am Incens'd and Ravish'd.

I am in Love with Thee, O blessed Jesus! I am Enamour'd of thy Person, O Thou God-Man! The Son of God! The Beauty of Heaven and Earth! The [Page 154] Center of all Created and Uncreated Excellency! The Mirror of the God­head! The Wonder of Angels! The Glory of Mankind! I am Inflamed with thy Love! Thou mad'st thy Love to Lazarus legible in thy Tears (See how he loved him, said the Jews) and shall not I read it in thy Wounds? They saw Love in thy driping Eye, and shall not I in thy Bleeding Side? They, in the Hot-water thou didst bestow on his Dead Body, and shall not I see it in that reaking Blood thou sheddest for my lost and Dying Soul? O let not my heart be so hard to see those Wounds of so great Love to me, and yet to have no Woundings of Affection for Thee! For thee, Lord! Yes, and all in Heaven and Earth that have Relation to Thee.

I am also in Love with the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, who would give his Son, his only Son, the Son of his Love, so to suffer on Earth, for a Time, that I might not suffer for Ever in Hell.

I am also in Love with Thee, O Thou [Page 155] Blessed and Holy Spirit of GOD, who didst anoint Jesus to be my Christ; and thereby Inaugurate him to his Crown of Thorns, and Blessed, tho' most Bloody Passion, which he suffered for me.

I am in Love with the whole Blessed Trinity, whose glorious Essence and In­effable Unity I Adore, tho' I cannot com­prehend; and whose Counsels fill my Soul with the highest Admiration, tho' I am never able to search out their Un­fathomable depth.

I have also Love for the Sons of Men, for them especially for whom my Lord Jesus shed his precious Blood, thereby to make them the Sons of God; and Brothers of Christ: Thy Cross, O Jesus, shall make all Mankind my Friends; for where thou gavest thy Blood, why shou'd not I give my Heart!

THUS, Lord, I love all for thee, and thee in all: And now I will love my self for thy sake amongst them: O Lord, I am one in whom is thy Flesh, a Man; I am one in whom is thy Spirit, a Christian▪ I am one for whom thou didst shed thy [Page 156] Blood, on whom thou hast shed thy Spi­rit: (A redeemed esteemed Man by Thee) and shall I be so poor, as to Value Dirt to thy Blood? Shall I be tempted to give my self from Thee, to the Flesh, and to the World? O Lord, I will Value thy Blood more, I will keep the Spirit bet­ter, I will set a higher price on my self, than to sell thy Blessed Purchase to the Devil, for a base Piece of Flesh, and a small portion of the World. So am I, and let me ever be in love with Thee, O Lord.

BUT O Sin! I am in Hate with Thee, for my own, and for my Saviour's sake! O thou Enemy of God and Man, how execrable art thou! More than heart can think: That madest him lamentable more than Eye saw.

AND O Devil! I hate Thee, who didst tempt Man out of Paradise, and so draw Christ to a Cross: And could thy Temptations have prevail'd and thy Power been equal to thy Malice, wouldst have cast the second Adam out too; that so nor the First, nor his Seed, might ever have come in again.

[Page 157] AND, O World! I abhor thee, as the Imp of the Devil; who of his Jews and Gentiles couldst find hands for such horrid Acts, and Sins that made those Bloody Passions. So Sin, Devil, World, for the Death of my King, and Lord, and Christ, you have my Hate.

I have also my Longings too: I Long for the Lord! My Soul Longeth for God, even the Living God. (yea, even for the Dying God!) When shall I come and ap­pear in the Presence of God? God Dying once, yet Living ever! When shall I come before the Dying-Living God?

I long for the Chariot that will bring me to Thee, and will Kiss it, tho' it be a Cross.

I long for the Inn which will lodge me near Thee, and will Embrace it, tho' it be a Grave.

I long for the Bed which will raise me to Thee, and will climb to it, tho' it be a Gibbet.

O Cup of Salvation, I will not refuse thee, Tho' full (even to the Martyrs Measure) of Blood; If from him, thou [Page 158] shalt be drank, and yet deem'd nothing to thy Saviour's Blood.

I long to be in thy Courts, where thou art present in Spirit! To be in thy holy Temple, (which is thy Chamber) at the Altar and Table, which is the Chair of thy Presence; yea, where in high and ineffa­ble Mystery, I find a Presence of thy Bo­dy, and keep both a Commemoration and Communion of it and thy Blood. But as I have my Longings, so I have my Loa­things.

I Loath the Life in which I cannot see Thee: At best, an Exile; at worst a Trouble to thee.

I Loath my self for casting away Love on so base and unworthy a Life; where I do either Crucifie Thee with my Sins, or Wound Thee with my Miseries! Where I renew Thy Passion by my Guilts, or thine Agony by my Conflicts.

I Loath my self for Loving Thee no more, who hast lov'd me so much. I like­wise Loath my self for Loving Sin so much, which has been so great an Enemy to my dearest Lord.—But then I have also my Joys.

[Page 159] I Ioy in thy Cross, not in thy Grief, O Christ. For can I see thy Sacred Body all gore, and my heart not bleed? The Spear be in thy Heart, and no Sword at mine? I will not, I cannot endure it, O my dearest Lord: No! I Joy in the Root, thine Infinite Mercy, O God: And in the Fruit, the Perfect Redemption of Man! It is finished! Yes, Blessed be the Blood that was the Price, and blessed be the Body that laid out that Blood! The Sa­tisfaction is full; Salvation is sure! Sin is nail'd! Hell foil'd! Satan chain'd! The World baffl'd! The Flesh wounded! Death slain! The Grave buried! Every Adversary's Power is conquered by Christ, Triumphant in the Chariot of his Cross over all: All is finished!

THERE are some very lavish in their Praises of the Wood of the Cross: But it was the Blood of the Cross by which Redemption is Purchased: And what Good doth not grow from and upon that Pulpit of Repentance, Pillar of Faith, Anchor of Hope, Magazine of Charity, Armory of Mortification, School of [Page 160] Pa­tience, Mirror of Obedience, Rock of Constancy, Shop of Humility, (the whole Duty of a Christian.) O blessed Root of God's Mercy, that bringest forth the hap­py Fruit of Mans Grace and Glory! O Tree of Death, more blessed than the Tree of Life, that hast such a Root, and such Fruit: Thus are my Joys Triumphant in thy Cross.—But

I Grieve to see Thee Crucify'd again, O Christ, and my Soul is Crucify'd for having a hand in thy Cross: Wo to the World for offences, which make Thee bleed afresh, and bring Thee to thy Cross again. Wo is me that see Thee dai­ly Crucify'd betwixt Hereticks and Schis­maticks, Thieves of thy Truth; between Hypocrites and Profligates, Thieves of thy Grace; amidst Men of Intemperate Heats and Cools in Religion, Thieves of thy Honour.

I Grieve to see Thee Crucify'd in vain: So much of the World lost, when all was paid for! A Price sufficient to have ran­som'd not a World only, but a Hell-full of Devils, Effectual only to a handful of [Page 161] Men. Yea, even within thy Holy Pale, which should preserve thy Blood to a drop, wo is me! how is it spilt to a stream! Whilst so many make void by their Sins, the healing vertue of thy pre­cious Blood! By Unbelief how many Millions are lost out of the Church! And by Mis-belief, how many Thousands in it! And by Miscarriage of Life, how many Thousands of Millions both in and out! My heart bleeds to see thy Creed without Faith, thy Decalogue without Obedience, thy Prayer without Use, thy Sacraments without Reverence! Nay, to see it made Faith, Conscience, Devotion, Zeal, to have no respect to Sacrament, Prayer, Decalogue or Creed! And, Lord, what Tears, even of Blood, are sufficient to bewail it! O my dear Lord! Can my Eyes see thee thus Crucify'd again Twice, and in vain Once, and my heart not grieve!—And yet tho' I grieve, I am not without Hope. And,

I hope in Thee, and the Blood of thy Cross alone. I hope for Pardon, because I read it Seal'd in thy Blood! I hope for [Page 162] Salvation, because I find it Purchased un­der that Seal. Wilt thou not make good thy Seal? Wilt thou not prefer thy Pur­chase? Nor Sin nor Devil then shall Damn me, O Christ; he shall not steal thy Purchase, nor make void thy Seal: Thy Blood is my Plea against both: In it I see my Pardon and Salvation Written; nor care I, so thou be my Advocate, for Saint or Angel to set to their Hands. I hope in Thee for my Salvation.

AND so I do for my Mothers too, the Spouse bought with thy Blood, and Lov'd as thy Body: O Lord thou art her Saviour, and shall she want thy Salvation? O let her not want thy Bowels for whom thou gavest thy Blood! Behold her Mise­ries, and forgive her Sins! Till thy Blood hath no Vertue, she is not without hope. And I know, O Lord, that the Streams of thy Blood are not yet drain'd, and that the Sea of thy Mercy still flows as fresh and free as ever. And therefore will I hope still.—But,

I fear too: I dread Temptation: Thy Cross was made of Adams Tree: I fear, [Page 163] because he fell: I Dread Desertion: I want both David's Grace, and Solomon's Wisdom; and yet tho' I had both, I shou'd fall, if thou forsak'st me: On the Cross thy Disciples left thee, but let me never leave thee: I dread Apostacy! O keep me from that Sin from which even thy Blood, thy Cross cannot or will not save me. But then,

I fear my self for all this: As my Sins nail'd thee to thy Cross, so my Corrup­tion rivets me in my Sins. The heart is deceitful above all things, and mine is desperately wicked; and full of divers Lusts and Abominations. And therefore from a Tempest of Temptation, from the Gulph of Spiritual Desertion, from the Precipice of Apostacy, and from my self above all, by the Vertue of thy Cross, deliver me, O Lord.

O Christ, my Spirit is Incens'd, and I am full of Indignation for the Affronts and Injuries done unto thee! To see thy Blood spilt or scorn'd; to see thy Passion forgot, or abus'd; Thy Love without Memory or Value, thy Pains without [Page 164] Belief or Remorse. Who can endure, O blessed Jesus! to see thy Cross made the Devils Standard? And thy Wounds (the only shelter for Sinners) turn 'd into Cities of Refuge for Sins? To see thy Passion made the Nurse of Presumption, and thy Mercy the Milk of all Abomi­nations? When Indignation kindles in thy poor Servants Soul at so great Indig­nities, how is it that Wrath flames not out in Thine? How is it? Even so it is, because thou art Jesus! Lovest to save, and art loth to destroy; Waitest our Re­pentance, and Wavest thy Vengeance.

I am Ravish'd with that good Spirit of thine, O Christ! Thou hadst it on the Cross, and keepest it on the Throne! Where it appears, it doth Ravish me: In thy Lips! Thou Prayest their Pardons that are shedding thy Blood! And thirst­est for their Salvation that are Butcher­ing thy Body! In thy Arms! Stretch'd out to Embrace all on Earth, and there­fore strike not, tho' in all the Power of Heaven! In thy Eyes! As Thou wast with one of my Mothers, I am with one [Page 165] of Thine. Thy Fury frights me, O Lord: Thy Favour is that One: The Eye with which thou didst look at the poor Thief, and give him both thy Pardon and thy Paradise: The Eye by which thou didst look at thy dear Mother; and amidst all thy Wounds chuse her a Guardian, and have her in thy Cares. The Eye with which thou did'st look at the dear Disciple, and Adopt him, of thy Servant, thy Mo­thers Son. The Eye by which thou didst look at poor Sinners to be saved, a Church to be bought, and World to be Ransom'd: But, in thy Heart, O Lord, O what an Apparition see I there! Through the bloody Door of thy Wounded Breast, a House full of Nothing but Goodness, Pity, Patience, Mercy! O what a Per­spective is there by the way of the Spear! To see the Prospect of a poor Sinners sole delight, a Heart full of Grace and Fa­vour, in the Brest of a Jesus! A Saviours Heart! From that Heart, with that Eye, O Christ behold the Afflicted Mother (thy Church) and thy dear Disciple, her Child! Breathe Comfort to her for whom [Page 166] thou gavest Blood! And to him who is the Son of her Comfort! Make Peace between Mother and Children, where there should be Love. Let them live by one Spirit, that are bought with one Blood! And no longer be one anothers Cross, but bear one anothers Burdens.

Dart, Lord, from that blessed Eye of Pity, these Favours on the Face of that bleeding Body: and with thy Arms, Nail'd once to a Cross, now extended on a Throne, Embrace her; and uphold her in Life! Advance her Throne for whom thou did'st endure thy Cross; O Thou who didst with thy Fingers work Heaven and Earth, and upholdest all things by the Word of thy Power, those whom the World treads under foot, take thou into thy Arms! In thy blessed Arms, O thou Omnipotent and All Merciful Ma­ker and Saviour of the World, in thy blessed Arms I leave the Wounded Mo­ther, and at thy Feet I lay the bleeding Child.

JESUS, nourish these holy Passions in me, which my Heart hath conceived, [Page 167] and my Tongue now brought forth be­fore Thee! Let thy holy Passion ever breed them in me, and thy Spirit Nurse them for thee, even by the Merits of thy bloody Passion, I beseech Thee. Amen! Amen.

A Prayer before Coming to the holy Com­munion, Acknowledging and Depreca­ting our Vnworthiness.

O Lord, I am every where in thy Presence, and under thy Eye, and therefore shou'd be prophane no where; but thy special Presence and Face is in thy Temple: There therefore I should be more holy; and thy Chair and Seat is at thy Table, and therefore there I should be yet more so: Even the Angels are not pure enough for such a Heavenly Pre­sence; how then shall a poor mortal Man appear at so high and holy a Ser­vice? How shall I dare to Communicate with Thee, that deserve not to come be­fore Thee? Lord, since I cannot come as I should, pure, I will endeavour by [Page 168] thy Grace, to come as I may, Penitent. I will be more humble, because less holy; and more Wash'd, because so Filthy. And O Lord, give me Grace so to come. Let me look over my Life in the Glass of thy Law, and make me wash with my Tears what is polluted in my Ways; and Cleanse in Christ's Blood what I wash with my Tears: O Lord, in a Bath of this Water warm'd in that Blood, flowing from a Sinners bleeding heart, and Saviour's bloody side, shall I not be clean if I wash? Pierce my heart, O Lord, that I may repent; open my heart that I may believe, that so I may wash and be clean! Tho' I did not live, let me believe aright; and let me love whom I do believe, even thee, O God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who didst send thy Son to shed his Blood and Redeem me; and Thee, O Son of God, who didst come and shed thy Blood to make a Bath and heal me; and also Thee, O holy Spirit of God, by whose Grace and Work upon my heart, I come to have the Benefits of that Blood. And whom [Page 169] I love, let me not grieve; Lord, let me no more offend thee: Let my heart be set to serve thee, resolved to please thee: And do thou accept me, Father, Son, and holy Ghost. Amen.

A Prayer before the holy Communion, to be Pardon'd, and Prepar'd for it.

DEAR Saviour! that hast given thy Flesh and Blood to be my Meat and Drink, and now invitest me to those Hea­venly Dainties: Who am I, woful and wicked Wretch that I am, that I should dare with my unworthy hands to receive those high and holy Mysteries! Original­ly Vnclean, Actually Defiled; and even since my last Coming and Communicating (for all my Vows and Protestations before thee) again and again polluted. In these straits and stresses of Spirit, how shall my Soul be satisfied? If I come not at thy call, I rebel against thy Mercy: If I come, I trespass upon thy Purity! O my God, I will not stand out a Rebel; but rather fall down an humble Suppliant before thee. I [Page 170] am guilty, Lord Pardon me; I am polluted, Lord purge me: Tho' guilty, tho' polluted, I am thy Ransomed Soul, Dear Redeemer, save me! Let the Merits of thy precious Blood, cleanse me from the guilts upon me! Let the Graces of thy holy Spirit Sanctifie me from the stains within me! Let the Sighs and Tears which come from my blee­ding Heart, wash off those Blots by Vertue of that Pretious Blood! Let the Cries and Prayers which now come from my Believing Soul, obtain those Graces from thy holy Spirit. True Repentance and Humility, a lively Faith and Charity, with all those holy and heavenly Thoughts and Affections which may dispose and prepare me for Thee! By these fit my Soul for thy Self, and my Body with my Soul to be an holy House and Habitation for thee! Let thy holy Spi­rit and Body enter into me; Come, dear Re­demer, come to the price of thy Blood; seiz thine own, and save me: Possess my Soul, Feed me, and Preserve me. Hereafter let me have more Grace than to grieve thee. Give me care to keep my Body (thy Tem­ple) more pure from Sin, and holy to Thee; [Page 171] and my Heart (thy Bed) more clean from Lust, and undefiled before Thee! In the strength of Thee, the Living Bread, let me grow more able to serve thee. And by Vertue of so near an Vnion and Communion with thee, let not mine, but thy holy Spirit from henceforth Lighten, Lead and Enliven me; that I may shun Sin, which thou hatest, and daily do those Duties of Devotion and Chari­ty which please Thee: So let this holy Sacra­ment at once Seal to me thy Mercy and my Glory; where I shall for ever Communicate with Thee in Perfect Purity and Felicity! To that happy Communion, by thy Grace, dear Saviour, ever Prepare me; and Now for a holy Communion with Thee. Amen, Amen: Say Amen, Lord Jesus.

A Prayer At our Receiving the Holy Communion.

DIDST Thou not Invite me to thy holy Table, O Lord, I durst not come: Now thou callest me, I dare not keep away: And yet when I do consider Who and What is here, I fear [Page 172] and tremble to come. Thou, O Lord, art a holy and dreadful Majesty, and so thy Mysteries be. Holy Bread, and holy Wine; A most holy Body and Blood: No Taint in his Blood, who is GOD as well as Man: The Lamb of God, Imma­culate, Undefiled, without Spot; All-Pure, most High and Holy! But alas! I am Unclean, Unclean, Unclean; Origi­nally, Actually, Every-way; in Heart, Hand, and Lips; throughout Childhood, Youth, and Manhood, most Unworthy to approach a Presence so Pure, who am so Unholy!

TRUE, Lord! But I Lament my Uncleanness, I Renounce my own Un­worthiness: I come, not because Wor­thy, but Needy! I come to be made Clean and Worthy: That Body and Blood can make me Clean, (it is my Saviours.) and his Merits can make me Worthy! (They are thy Sons, O Lord!) And here is a Conveyance of that blessed Body and Blood; (It is thy Sacrament!)

LORD! Think me Worthy for his sake, and make me Worthy for thy [Page 173] Mercies sake, by my Coming. Give my Sins, thy Pardon; my Soul, thy Grace; my Self, thy Acceptance in thy Beloved. And what thou doest Convey, Seal to me by what I now Receive from Thee, the Blessed Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer and Thanksgiving After the Receiving of the holy Communion.

PARDON, O Father, the Errors and Infirmities of thy poor Child, which have pass'd in thy holy Service, whether Before, or In, or Since the Sacra­ment. And in and for the Precious Blood of thy holy Child Jesus, of which I have had the holy Communion, Seal me my Pardon! And behold and accept thy Servant, from a Heart full of thy Love, pouring out Praises to Thee, for the In­estimable Benefits Received in those high and holy Mysteries! What am I, O Lord, or what is in me, that thou shouldest do this great Honour and Favour to me? I am unworthy to touch the Tresholds of [Page 174] thy House, and Thou hast taken me to thy Table! I am not worthy to stand amongst thy Saints, and thou hast made me Sit with my Saviour! I am not wor­thy to come before thee, and fall down before thy Footstool, and Thou hast been pleased to come into me, and make my Heart thy Throne! I am not worthy to Eat the Bread of Men, and thou hast given me the Bread of Angels; Yea, Lord, the Angels hunger, but have not this Bread! What they admire, I have Re­ceived; whom they Adore, I have Enter­tained: The Body and Blood of Jesus, their Mirror, is my Meat! Christ and they are two, but I and my Saviour are One, Flesh of his Flesh, and Bone of his Bone; One Blood, one Body! O un­speakable Mystery! O incomparable Mercy!

LORD, I beseech Thee, since of my self I cannot enough Praise Thee, make me some way worthy of Thee: Let my Hands which have Received thy Blessed Body and Blood, be henceforth Sacred, and do no Deeds that may offend Thee: [Page 175] Let my Lips which have touched those holy Mysteries, be hallowed from all Words that may displease thee: And let my Heart, the Habitation of my Lord and Saviour, be hereafter holy, and no Vain Thoughts lodge within me! As I am one with him in Body and Blood, let me be one in Spirit; the Spirit of Wis­dom, Love and Holiness: Truly to know Thee, serve Thee, and cleave unto thee. By the blessed Sacrament of his Body and Blood, convey it to me. Confirm it in me! Let it be to my Soul the Signet of thy Love, and Seal of thy Glory. And Even for the precious Merits of that Blood and Body, receive me to it, I be­seech Thee, that I may be one in Ever­lasting Union and Communion with Thee, for Jesus his sake. Amen. Amen.

A Thanksgiving for a Devout Soul, After Receiving the Communion.

O Thou that hast given the Bread of Heaven to feed me, give me the Tongue of Angels to praise Thee! Lord, the very Angels are not blessed with such Bread! O what an high Mystery and Mercy is this, that my Saviour is my Sustenance, and their Maker my Meat! The Body and Blood of Christ, the Eternal Son of God, to be in an holy Communion Eaten and Drunken, by the Mouth of a Mortal Man! O the In­finite Condescending Goodness of a gracious God! To make my humble Heart the Ha­bitation of his Holiness! To come to me, Enter in me, and become one, not by Re­conciliation only, but Heavenly Vnion and Communion with me! O miraculous Vnion! O mysterious Incorporation! O happy Soul, that art so near to thy Saviour! O blessed Saviour, that art so near my Soul! O wretched Soul, if thou esteem'st any thing too dear for such a Saviour! Wilt thou not give thy Body and Blood for his Truth? Wilt [Page 177] thou not offer thy Life as a Sacrifice to his Glory? O Lord! Let my Soul, which by thy Sacrament is made so happy, by my Sin never be made wretched. And since I have received thy Body and Blood, let thy Spi­rit take Possession of my Heart, and Guide me, Lead me, Command me, and Rule me: Be thou the Spirit of my Soul, and Soul of my Body. Let not the Flesh, World, or Devil, have any Power in me: Live! O Live Thou in me, O Christ! Live in my Earthly Tabernacle, and let me live for E­ver with Thee in thy heavenly Habitation! Even by the Merits and Vertues of thy pre­tious Body and Blood, O sweet Iesus, I beseech Thee. Amen.

I AM now come, through the Divine Assistance, to the last thing I Promised, which is, Some General Rules and Directi­ons for our Daily Practice: In which I shall be very short, a few things well di­gested, being better than many; which oftentimes prove burdensome to the Me­mory, and hinder, instead of help.

[Page 178]I HAVE already set down a Form of Prayer to be us'd Morning and Even­ing in Times of Affliction; besides which, I will add,

Rules of Devotion for the Morning.

IN the Morning when you first awake, lift up your Eyes to God and say, I lift up mine Eyes to the Hills from whence cometh my help.

THEN lift up your heart to God, and pray, Lord keep me from all Sin and danger this day, for Iesus Christ his sake.

WHEN you are up, kneel down, and say this Prayer: Almighty God, who hast touched my heart with a sense of thy fear, and holy dread of thy Majesty, I be­seech thee give me thy grace, so to govern my thoughts, and look to my Words and Ways this day, that I may avoid all Sins, especially those to which I am most inclin'd, or may be most provoked: That so my Soul and Body may be kept pure, and unspotted before Thee; and whensoever the hour of their Separation shall come, may be ready [Page 179] and prepared for Thee, through the Merits and Mercies of Iesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

WHEN you are ready for your Mor­ning Prayers, you may use the Service before recited for the Morning:

Rules for the Evening.

AFTER you have Used the fore­going Prayers for Evening Service, and before you go into your Bed, kneel down and say this short Prayer: O God, who hast made the Day for Labour, and the Night for Rest, let thy Sons Blood cleanse me from this Days guilt, that I may sleep in thy Peace, and rise again refreshed and preserved by thy Favour, through Iesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

AND this Thanksgiving and Prayer: Almighty God, who hast preserved me this day from many Sins and Dangers, I do humbly magnifie thy Name for thy Grace and Goodness towards me, beseeching Thee to forgive me all the Errors of this day, whereof my Conscience doth or may accuse [Page 180] me. And grant that those sins which by my frailty I have Committed, may by the help of thy Spirit be more carefully avoided; that I may ever stand in thy Favour, Walk under thy Protection, and now rest and lie down in thy Peace, and at last come to thy heavenly Kingdom, through the Merits and Mediation of Iesus Christ. Amen.

When you lie down say,

I will lay down my head in Peace, and take my Rest, for thou only, O Lord, makest me to dwell in safety.

Then Pray thus:

LIGHTEN mine Eyes, O Lord, that I sleep not in Death; I commit my Soul and Body to thee; keep me for thy Mercies sake. Amen.

Some General Rules for our Daily Practice.

1. REmember, That tho' Knowledge, especially the Knowledge of God, be an excellent thing, yet it will be no farther available to thee, than as thou puttest it into Practice: For Know­ledge without Practice, is like Light with­out Heat, which never ripens any Fruit to the Glory of God, or Good of thy own Soul. Be sure therefore to labour after the Knowledge of Gods Will, and to put that Knowledge into Practice.

2. Let the Worship of God have the first place in thy Affections and Actions. And tho' Private Prayer and secret Eja­culations be necessary, yet let not Pub­lick Prayers in the House of God be Omitted.

3. Neglect not the Common Prayers and other Publick Duties of Devotion, but say with holy David, I was glad when they said unto me, We will go into the House of the Lord.

4. Be careful that Divine Service be [Page 182] performed aright, as it ought to be, and delight thy self in the Beauty of Gods House.

5. In all the Various Changes that befal thee, especially in Afflictions and Distresses, make Prayer thy Refuge.

6. Set aside appointed times for thy Private Devotions, and observe them not only out of Custom, but of fervency of Spirit, to increase thy Piety.

7. The Pious Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, esteem highly of; I mean those which are not repugnant ot Gods Word; and on the other side, fly Super­stition.

8. Use constantly the Prayers for the Church; and by name, for all those for whom thou art bound to pray, especial­ly the Royal Family.

9. If thou art a Father of a Family, govern all under thy Care, piously and re­ligiously: Let all resort to Morning and Evening Prayer, either Privately, or Pub­lickly, if it may be. And let this be a Law to thy Family: Whosoever comes within this House, let him be Sober, Just, [Page 183] Religious, and Honest in all things: Lye not, Swear not, Forswear, nor Blaspheme not: Detract not from others, mind not Cups and Revels; offend not any Bodies Ears, or Eyes, or Mind, either by Words or Deeds. Whoso doth otherwise, let him depart hence.

10. Discipline thy Children betimes, and Train them up in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.

11. Rule thy Wife with Prudence; and provoke her to the Love of Vertue and good Works, by thy Example.

12. If thou hast Daughters, be solici­tous about the Preservation of their Cha­stity; the Age is corrupted, and full of Debauchery; and if they come to be de­filed, they are in danger of Eternal Ru­ine; and therefore this requires thy ut­most Care, for thou hast no Treasure so much expos'd as these. And to this End, keep with a double-Lock their Ears and Tongue from Obscenity and Scurrility; let none come near them, that use impu­dent Jests or Gestures, for shameless [Page 184] Companions and evil Conversation, Cor­rupts good Manners, and ought to be a­voided as so many Serpents and Vipers.

13. Be careful to avoid all known Sins: To which End be sure thou com­mit not the least fault wittingly or wil­lingly, for the dearest Friends sake: It is better to renounce all Friendship with Men, than to endanger the breaking of thy Friendship with God. And nothing will break this Friendship sooner than Sin.

14. Use not thy self unto Swearing; I mean not only Vain and Prophane Swearing, but also Promisory Oaths: But if thou hast made any such, take care to perform 'em, tho' it may be to thy own outward hurt.

15. Vow nothing rashly, but upon great Deliberation; and what thou hast Vowed, pay.

16. Imitate the Life of thy blessed Saviour; and follow the steps of his Saints in all things wherein they ought to be imitated.

17. Next after thy Duty to God, [Page 185] consider what thou owest to thy Neigh­bour; and do it whilst it is in the Power of thy hand.

18. Do good to all, according to thy Ability; Feed the Hungry, give drink to the Thirsty, Entertain the Stranger, Cloath the Naked, Visit the Sick, Redeem the Prisoners, and Bury the Dead. This Cha­rity belongs to the Body.

19. There is likewise a Charity due to the Soul, which is, To instruct the Ig­norant, Correct the Sinner, Counsel the Doubtful, Comfort the Afflicted, indure Injuries, forgive Wrongs, pray for Others, yea, for thy Enemies.

20. Observe Friendship with Con­stancy, fasten that knot; and if it be loosed, tie it again. Reconcile those that are fallen out. Strifes and Conten­tions, which are the Bane of Charity, Extinguish and Wipe away.

21. Interpret all things from others in the best sense; scorn none, nor detract from any; neither provoke 'em by Rail­ing or Opprobrious Terms; but give to all, that honour that belongs to 'em.

[Page 186] 22. Let thy gesture be without Af­fectation, yet not Phantastical; and let thy Countenance be Free, but not Lofty, and Chearful, but not Lowring; let thy Speech be Sober, Simple, and Harmless, without Deceit or Flattery, and without Mimical Actions, like a Stage-play.

23. Be sensible of the hand of God under all Afflictions; and think with thy self that he does nothing without a Cause, and let that keep thee, humble, and put thee upon a serious Reflection on thy past Actions.

24. If Reproaches, Revilings, and o­ther Injuries be thrown upon thee, streng­then thy Soul in God, and under-go them both with Courage and Constancey; and, as far as thou art Innocent, with Rejoy­cing.

25. Under all Afflictions be silent, let the Causes be what they Will; for it argues Impatience to Complain: Beware therefore that thou accuse neither Hea­ven nor Men; for none is more injuri­ous to thee, than thou to thy self, if thou be Impatient. Righteous is the Lord, and true are his Judgments.

[Page 187] 26. Be sure take heed, least under thy Afflictions thou forgettest thy Creator, and seekest Deliverance by indirect means: For many have stumbled upon this Rock, and been broken to pieces by it: For such men wou'd prescribe to God, and have him directed by their foolish Fancies: But who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord? Or being his Coun­sellour have taught Him? 'Tis a vain thing to attempt it. Therefore to be willing to tarry till God sees good to deliver, is the way to hasten our Deliverance; but to go about to deliver our selves, and throw off the Burden that God has laid upon us, is the only way to bind it on the faster, and to keep back that delive­rance, which (for ought we know) may be at the Door. And therefore,

27. If the Times compel thee to suf­fer for Righteousness sake, be not afraid: The three Children lost nothing by be­ing in the fiery Furnace, so long as there was a Fourth there with them, which was the Son of God.

28. In times of Affliction especially, [Page 188] throw away all vain desire of Riches; despise the World, and all the Allure­ments of it, whether they be Honours, Pleasures, Friends and Acquaintance, or whatever else. That which keeps down thy Affections from mounting to Hea­ven, and soaring Above, is a dead weight, which thou hadst better be without.

29. Whatever thou losest, take care to keep thy Innocence: If thou losest all the World, and keepest thy Inno­cence, thou mayst yet be a Gainer. But if thou losest thy Innocence, then indeed thou losest All, and thy Loss becomes truly Unvaluable.

30. If thou wouldest preserve thy In­nocence, make Gods Word thy Rule, and humbly implore the gracious Con­duct and Guidance of his holy Spirit: For he it is that leads in the way of Righteousness, and in the midst of the Paths of Judgment; and he has assur'd us in his Word, That if in all our Ways we acknowledge him, he will direct our Paths.


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