A Rational Method OF Daily RELIGION: Consisting of Four New Offices of Ordinary Devotion; AND A Practical Directory Concerning the Reasonableness and Ʋse of them.

By a Divine of the Church of England.

LONDON: Printed for Percivall Gilbourne, at the George in Chancery-Lane, near Fleet-street. 1697.

TO THE READER.

CHRISTIAN READER,

THE DIRECTORY discharging the part both of Preface and Com­mentary; the only favour I have now to desire of thee is to peruse the whole, or none at all; since both parts of the Book have a necessary dependance one upon the other.

I have ventured to publish this small part of the whole Work [Page] (if I do not flatter my self) fo [...] swaying Reasons; by it self, fo [...] a Trial of the World's receptio [...] of the Design; and sooner than [...] once intended, in obedience to [...] particular Motion of Divine Providence.

Whilst I was composing it my great Master's Honour was al [...] along in my Eye, and it has been, and still is my own earnest Re­quest to God, that his Spiri [...] might breath kindly on my At­tempt; and I hope too it has been the Request of many others, who if their visible Demeanour be the Transcript of their Hearts, can't but reasonably be supposed to have Interest at the Court of Heaven.

Nevertheless I am no stran­ger to the Byass of the Age, or the Magick of old plausible popular Titles, and admired Names, or the Moral Necessity of the co-operation of free A­gents, with even the immedi­ate good Motions of God's Spirit, before they can attain their End; much more, with external suc­cours that are tendred by sinful Creatures, in order to make God's Blessing on a work of this Nature truly compleat, by its proving thoroughly effectual with those who use it. And therefore, though the honest measures I have taken in this Ʋndertaking en­courages me to hope for success, with Souls; yet, at the same time I have took care to be prepared aforehand for a defeat. My best [Page] (though weak) endeavour is my part; Success and Disappoint­ment, Honour and Dishonour are of God's disposal, and either of them in this World, should be chearfully submitted to by a Christian.

The truth of it is, some As­saults must be expected from the Grand Adversary of Mankind, whatever be the Event of this Assay. But that God, whom I serve and trust in, is both mighty and good, and will not suffer a poor Christian that flies to him for Succour to be the Caitiff, ei­ther of Vanity, or Despondence; or his good intention to miss of its Aim, with respect to himself, if he does not neglect other Branches of Duty, and Perse­veres [Page] in a Course of entire Fi­delity to Christ unto the End, remembring that the proper Re­wards of a Christian are not those of this State, but such as will abundantly recompence the chear­full patience of a short Life.

If in some places the stubborn­ness of the Subject, or haste in the Composure of the expressive parts of the Directory (for to deal justly by the matter; that has been well studied) has oc­casioned me to be tedious, and rough in my Sentences: I now desire thee to take first a rough View of the whole Chapter you are reading, and always not to read the Parentheses, if they be so noted by these Marks () till you have read to a full Period.

By this means upon a second reading over the Chapter, the most illiterate Reader may un­derstand it, and so digest it the better: so also if a hard word oc­cur, that's taken out of another, Language, because more expres­sive than any in ours; the Con­nection, if a Man be attent will explain it.

The parts unfinished are,

I. Large penitential Offices of solemn Repentance framed accor­ding to St. Paul's Apostolical Model of the several Gradati­ons of Repentance.

II. Large Prose, Eucharisti­cal Offices in Honour to the se­veral Attributes of God, and for the most signal Works and Pro­vidences [Page] of God with others sui­ted to the most remarkable Feasts of the Church.

III. Variety of occasional Offices for Sabbaths, New-Tears-Birth-Baptism-Ordination-Wedding, & Anniversary Fast-Days, and Days of Mourning for the Dead, with Prayers proper to be used at Vi­sitations of the Sick, and the like, with an ejaculatory Office.

IV. A large gratulatory Office with Triumphs of Faith, Hope and Charity by way of Anticipa­tion of the Beatifick Vision, and Everlasting Jubilee, as also large intercessive Offices adapted to most possible Relations and Sta­tions of a Christian in this Life.

V. A large Deetical Office of Vigilance, Deprecations and Pe­titions for Graces.

[Page] VI. A large Office of Abstra­ction adapted to the different and inmost Self-Consciousnesses of Men in this State with Glances on Death, the separate State, the future Judgment, and the two Eternal States.

VII. An Office of Sacramental Devotions, os which there has been great Numbers, and such as under the Titles of Weekly and Monthly, and such like stinted formal Preparations have be­trayed many to a profanation of it, and filled the Age with un­worthy confused Notions of the Sacrament of the Lord's Sup­per.

VIII. Large Offices of socia [...] Devotion fitted for occasion of two or more Persons conjoyn [...] Exercise of social Repentance for [Page] sins committed together, as also for the Exercise of social Grati­tude for the same Mercy, as also for Families, Religious Societies, or Fraternities, and the like.

To each of which are to be ad­ded suitable Directories by way of Appendix, with suitable Dis­courses as shall be found most proper, prefixed before each, con­cerning solemn Repentance, [so­litary or social] Birth, Rege­neration, Solitude, Divine Gra­titude, Gratulation, Fraternal Confession, Heaven, the separate State, Vows, Scope, Contingen­cies, God, Angels, Heaven, Devils, Eternity, Hell, Self-Penetration, Charity, Pover­ty of Spirit, Family-Religion, Hope, Religious Societies, [Page] Heavenly Aspiration, and the like.

Which will be done if God permit; the furtherance of thy Prayers is humbly desired.

Reader, Farewel.

THE Morning Office OF GRATITUDE.

CLASS. I. Expressions of Holy Dread and Filial Confidence, intermix'd.

GReat and Glorious Sove­reign of Heaven and Earth, with the Grati­tude of a Creature, and the Shame of a Sinner, I own thy Works to be full of Wonder and [Page 2] Love, tho' my ways have been ful of Vanity and Perversness.

2.

But tho' I cannot offer the Tri­bute of a Cherub, nor pay the Grati­tude of Paradise to my great Crea­tor; yet since so vast is thy Mercy, that thou sen [...]est thy Son to take hol [...] of fall'n Man; and in his Name Creatures uncreatur'd by Apostacy, may find access to the Throne of Grace and tremendous Brightness [...] and fo5 seeking be recreatur'd by his Grace and Spirit. Be not, O Lord▪ I beseech thee incens'd, if sinful Dust and Ashes dare in the Name of the Mighty Jesus to bow before [...] most High God.

3.

[...]nd Judge of An­ [...]d, I blush to pre­sent [Page 3] the Homage of a Worm; much more the Praise of a Rebel: But tho' I blush to present it, yet I dare not withhold it: I am drawn to thee by the irresistible violence of that Love and that Blood which has pav'd a new and living way to God for all who withstand not thy tender of that Peace which is a Pearl of such great Price. Verily, Verily, my Lord and my God, now I may, and ought, and will laud and address thee, tho' it be with Trembling and Confusion: For as Dread belongs unto Creatures and Sinners; so doth Confidence belong unto the Immacu­late, the Eternal, and only Begotten Son of God.

CLASS II. Expressions of Praise both by way of Recital and Address.

1.

GLory therefore be to God, Con­descension to his Creatures, Grace and Mercy, Peace and Pur­gation, Redemption and Forgiveness to me a Sinner: May the Good God, who pardoneth Iniquity, Trans­gression, and Sin, accept the In­cense of a lowly Heart.

2.

Great is the Lord and marvel­lous, worthy to be prais'd; there there are no bounds of his Great­ness.

3.

He is Wonderful in Counsel, Migh­ty in Working, Glorious in Holiness, Fearful in Praises: He dwells in in­accessible Light: The Heaven of Heavens cannot contain him: His Kingdom is an Everlasting King­dom: His Dominion lasteth lon­ger than Ages: Ten thousand times ten thousand, and Thousands of thousands of Glorious Spirits are the awful Retinue of the Lord God.

4.

The Heavens declare the Glory of God; the Firmament shews his Handy-work: One Day tells ano­ther, and one Night certi [...]es ano­ther.

5.

Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the Corner-stone of the Earth, when the Morning-Stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for Joy: All the Beasts of the Forest are thine, and so are the Cattel on a thousand Hills.

6.

Fearfully and Wonderfully hast thou made Man; and O that my Soul did ponder it well! Thine Eyes did see my Substance when I was yet imperfect; and in thy Everlasting Book were all my Mem­bers written; Day after Day were they a fashioning: To this Day are they preserv'd by thy hand.

7.

Every Morning thy Loving Kind­ness is renew'd: I laid me down and slept, and rose again, for the Lord sustain'd me: O how dear are thy Counsels unto me, O God, O how great is the summ of them? Here par­ticular Mer­cies may be inserted.

8.

How should I count them? They are more in number than I can con­ceive: Whenever I awake they are present with me. Have I not for this reason remembred thee on my Bed, and thought upon thee when I was waking? Now do I sing and always will sing of thy Mercies be­times in the Morning, even unto thee, O my strength; for thou art [Page 8] my Refuge, and my mercifu [...] God.

CLASS IV. The Dedicatory.

THis Day I dedicate my self, Spirit, Soul and Body to thy Spirit, Honour and Service; and do resign all my Care and Concerns to the Direction and Influence of thy Providence; and am dispos'd chear­fully to embrace all the Dispensa­tions of thy Fatherly Goodness. Thus will I by thy Grace and As­sistance, throughout my whole Life, wait upon thee in Holiness, that I may at last behold thy Power and Glory everlasting.

2.

I hate and abhor all my past evil ways, and from the depth of my Soul do renounce mine own Wickedness. Here you may confess your Constitu­tion Sin, or other Sins.

O that I may obtain Victory o­ver my whole Body of Sin, and live! Then shall Jesus be my Jesus in­deed, and say, Soul, Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee; and, at the Great Day, declare before Angels and Saints, and Devils, and the Desperate, Thy monstrous iniquities are blotted out; They shall not be thy ruine. Thou shalt live; for I dy'd for the penitent.

3.

Hence 'tis, O Lord, that my Soul hangs upon thee: To this pur­pose with extreme Thirst of Soul I [Page 10] seek thy Strength, and thy Face▪ O therefore do thou, who delight'st not in the Desolation, but divine Resurrection of Humane Spirits, chear and replenish me with the Light of thy Countenance; for without thee we must needs be desolate.

CLASS. V. Acts of Daily Petition for God's Protection and Blessing.

LORD, I have dedicated my Judgment to thee, O shew me the way that I should walk in. I lift up my Soul unto thee, Lord, sanctifie it; I have devoted my Spi­rit, Lord separate the Light from the Darkness thereof, and refine it with the fiery Baptism of the Holy Ghost, that thy Will may be the Magnet of mine. Lord, I beseech [Page 11] thee, set a Watch over my Heart and Lips, that my Words and Medita­tions may please thee.

2.

O that all my Actions, and Intentions, and Discourses, may be begun, and govern'd, and ended in thy Fear! so shall the Lord prosper my Handy-work; so shall my Studies thrive under his Blessing, and all my Resolutions be establish'd: O that the Disposals of my Heavenly Father (be they grateful or ungrate­ful to Flesh and Blood) may find their Ends answer'd by my Demea­nor under and use of them!

3.

Arm me, I beseech thee, with the Armour of God, that no pre­sumptuous Sin may ever again get the Dominion over me; Array my [Page 12] Soul with a competent Conformity of Mind to the Image of thy Son, that I may grow in Grace and heavenly Experience; that so this, and every remaining Day of my short stay here, may be reflected on with less Sorrow, and more spiritual Joy in the Lord, than the foregoing▪ O may thy Loving Spirit lead me in the ways of Evangelical Righ­teousness! so shall the Land of Righteousness be mine Inheritance; and the God of Righteousness my Portion for ever.

CLASS VI. A Catholick Conclusion.

LOrd, I beseech thee, of thine infinite Compassion, over-look my numerous Infirmities, accept of this imperfect Sacrifice, and of the [Page 13] following Expression of my Delight in the Joys of the Church Trium­phant, and of my Commiseration of all the Perils, Straits, and Necessities of thy Israel Militant here on Earth, in the powerful Name and Words of thine only Son, and Man's only Sa­viour JESUS CHRIST:

Our Father, &c.

Noon-Office OF VIGILANCE AND CHARITY.

CLASS I. Vigilance excited, by Expres­sions of a sense of Man's and the World's Vanity.

1.

VAnity of Vanities, all is Vanity and Vexation of Spirit.

2.

God made Man upright; little lower than the Angels, and plac'd all sublunary Things under him: But Man hath sought out ma­ny foolish Inventions, and lets some Creature or other lord it over his Heart, tho' they were all put under his feet.

3.

For the Lord look'd down from Heaven on the Children of Men, to see if there were any seeking after God: But oh, how are they gone out of the way! Destruction and Ʋnhappiness is in their ways: The way to Reconciliation and Glory they neither see, nor seek

4.

Nay, the humble Soul and his Care for Eternity is had in derision by them; numerous are those Wret­ches which combine with the dis­orderly Tendencies of Birth, and the Princes of Darkness to pluck him from his God.

CLASS II. Expressions of Trust in God and Holy Resolution.

1.

BUt my Soul shall not run any more after Idols, neither shall their Scoffs make me draw back; for I will seek the Kingdom of God, and Christ, and the Righteousness there­of.

2.

Seek, seek, I say, O my Soul, the Lord and his Strength; seek his Face evermore: All other things when weigh'd in the Balance, are found wanting: God alone can be the Marrow and real Plenitude of a Spirit; whose are infinite Worlds, and all the Fulnesses of the same; He, and He alone, can be an Enjoyment adaequate to a Will.

3.

O theresore Love the Lord, who is the Heaven of Angels: He is my stony Rock, and my Defence, my Saviour, my God, and my Might, in whom I will trust; my Buckler, the Horn also of my Sal­vation: I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so wall I be safe from mine Enemies: [Page 18] For whoso dwelleth under his De­fence, doth abide under the Shadow of the Almighty.

CLASS III. An Address to God for Spiritual Strength, and Christian Vio­lence in general.

GReat Creator of the Ʋniverse, Benefactor of Angels, Humbler of Devils, and Restorer of Man: Marvellous for Strength, marvellous for Wisdom, and marvellous for Goodness: Thou hast promis'd to hear them that call upon thee faith­fully in time of Trouble; O do thou now say unto my Soul, in this state of Difficulty, I am thy Salvation. Pity, O Lord, my dark­ned Mind; cleanse a Heart stain'd with Sin. Terrible Hosts thou [Page 19] seest, O Lord, do encompass my poor Soul; Thousands fall beside me, and thousands behind me, and ten thousands round about me: Thrones and Principalities plot a­gainst us, and those whom we are too apt (because of Sense) to reckon our Best Friends, do ensnare and betray us. But alas! tho' we are beleper'd with Guilt, tho' we are near the Portals of Death, and the Talons of Hell, how apt are we to put the evil Day far from us? Wherefore, I beseech thee, do thou, by a Divine Power, make me constantly sensible of Death and Judgment, and the Tortures of the Damn'd; invest my Soul with that Noble Violence wherewith the King­dom of Heaven must be taken. O my God, I know thy Grace, and that only is sufficient for me; work in me therefore, I beseech thee, ef­fectually in the inner Man by thy Spirit, that I may habitually will [Page 20] and do according to thy goo [...] Pleasure; so shall I be strong indeed, even in the Lord, and th [...] Power of his Might, and be mor [...] than Conqueror thro' Christ, an [...] hold out to the end; so shall I no [...] be dismay'd for any Terror by Night, nor for the Pestilence tha [...] invisibly wounds at Noon; so shal [...] I triumph the Triumphs of thy Saints, and trample upon Dangers, Death, and Devils, and keep a per­petual Jubilee with my God and his Christ.

CLASS IV. Prayers for particular Graces, collected out of our Blessed Lord's Sermon on the Mount, and St. Paul.

AND to the end, O Lord, I may be found in the Bles­sed Number of those who are Christ's Disciples indeed, make me, I beseech thee, poor in Spirit, a godly Mourner, meek, hungry, and thirsty after Righteousness, merciful, pure in Heart, dispos'd to promote Peace and Ʋnity, ready to be per­secuted for Righteousness sake, and to rejoice when I am revil'd, in­stead of reviling again. O suffer no worldly Emulation to sway in my Heart, and to taint my Fast­ings and Prayers. Give me a Heavenly Prudence, that my Light [Page 22] may shine before Men, and I may nevertheless do many Good Works secretly, looking for my Praise and Reward from thee: Give me cou­rage to pluck out my scandalous Eye, and to cut off the scandalous Hand of my corrupt Nature, and all Superfluity of Tongue and Thought for the mean Concerns of this Life. O may thy Name never be utter'd without Reverence by me▪ Suffer me not so to be angry with my Brother, as to sin, or to be a Judge, but rather a Doer of thy Law. Make me so mindful of my own Ingratitude, and of that great Goodness which has nevertheless been continu'd by thee to me, that in imitation of this thy great Perfe­ction, I may forgive, bless, and pray for mine Enemies. Drive earthly Solicitude out of my Mind, that (my Distributions to the Ne­cessities of the Saints laying up for me a Treasure in Heaven) my [Page 23] Heart may be there also▪ O illu­minate my Mind, that that Faculty which thou hast planted in me to be my Light, may not by being dark it self, overwhelm me all over with horrible Darkness. I earnestly entreat thee to lay a deep Foundation of Faith within me, that like a wise Builder I may build up­on the Rock, and be proof against Storms, and Waves, and Tempests; always striving more and more ear­nestly to enter in at the strait Gate, that I may bring forth the ex­cellent Fruits of a Mind thoroughly chang'd, and with diligence and trembling do those things which my Lord commands: O that when my Lord comes, when Death seizes me, I may be found so doing! O subject my Body to my Soul, and my Soul entirely unto thee, and erect and enlarge the Kingdom of God in it, that it may be fill'd with an equitable Disposition of behaving it [Page 24] self so towards God and God Man▪ Angels and Devils, its Fellow Crea­tures and the whole subordinat [...] Creation, as becomes a Christian and so be fill'd with Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost. Finally, O Lord since thou hast promis'd it to those who ask it of thee with Faith and Purity, Importunateness and Humi­lity; give me, I beseech thee, all Celestial Favours, and truly va­luable Bounties in that inestimable Gift of Gifts, thy Holy Spirit. Lord▪ how shall our Souls be nurs'd for Heaven, without the support of this Manna of the Seraphim? Give me therefore thy Spirit, I do again and again beseech thee, else I perish to all Eternity: Lord, I trust in thee, O let me not be confoun­ded.

2.

O my God, thy Mercies towards me are ineffable; wherefore I pre­sent my Body (which is daily fed and preserv'd by thy Bounty) be­fore thee: O do thou so renew my Mind, that it may be transform'd from the World to thy Likeness, and make my Body and all my Actions in their Station (wherein I am, or hereafter may be plac'd by thy Providence) a living Sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto thee; and I may experimentally prove what is that good and acceptable Will of God.

3.

Awe me, I beseech thee, with a sense of thy Greatness and my own Meanness, that I may not think of my self more highly than I ought to think; supply me with Grace to [Page 26] have my Conversation in Heaven, an [...] with all Men, in all godly simplicity▪ to love without dissimulation, to abhor that which is evil, and to stand fast in the Lord; to prefer others in Ho­nour before my self; not to be sloth­ful in Business; to be fervent in Spi­rit; to rejoice in the Hope; to be pa­tient in Tribulation, and instant in Prayer; to rejoice with them that re­joice; to weep with them that weep▪ in indifferent things, to be of the same mind with others; not to min [...] high things, but to condescend; not to be wise in my own Conceit; not be overcome of evil, but to overcome evi [...] with good.

For Christ his sake, O my Father and his Father, grant these Pe­titions.

4.

Give me Grace, O Father of Lights, to add to my Faith, Forti­tude; and to Fortitude, Temperance; and to Temperance, Piety; and to Piety, Lowliness; and to Lowliness, Charity: To be subject to the higher Powers; to render to all their Dues; to esteem the Laborers in thy Vineyard for their Works sake; to live up to my Light, and to walk honestly as in the day; to please my Neighbour to Edification; to bear the Infirmities of the Weak, and the Reproaches of the Wicked; to resist the Devil, mortifie the Body, and be one Spirit with the Lord.

This I beg for the sake of Christ Jesus; hear me therefore, O my God.

5.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, and all thy Soul, and all thy Mind, and all thy Strength.

This is the First and Great Com­mandment; and I cannot but own, my God, that it is most Holy, and Just, and Good.

Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy self.

This is the next, and like unto it.

6.

But, Lord, who is sufficient for these things? Where is the Man that liveth and transgresseth not these Laws? O therefore, Lord, enter not into Judgment with me; but for Christ's sake pardon my manifold Violations of thy Laws; [Page 29] and for the future, I beseech thee fortifie me with a plentiful Portion of thy Grace and Spirit: Hence­forward I will not receive the for­mer in vain, nor quench the latter; but will love my God with a Su­pream Love entirely and constantly, and my Neighbour as my self, and my self according as my Love of God shall recommend me▪ So help my God.

CLASS V. Office of Charity,

PART I. The Gratulatory of the Church Triumphant.

HAppy are those Spirits that wait on God's Throne, and do continually minister with Hale­lujahs to the Holy, Holy, Holy God, and the Lamb for ever and ever.

Happy and Blessed are those Saints, who live in the Regions of inaccessible Light, where neither Moral nor Natural Death hath any place.

Happy indeed are they that are made eternal Priests and Kings to God, and are above the need of Care [Page 31] and Watching; gratulated be their Joy May it be mine, and mine theirs, in the eternal Salvation of my Soul.

2.

A Heavenly Aspiration.

My Soul is a thirst for the Li­ving God: This is the Commu­nion which my Soul is inflam'd with Longings after: O that I had Wings like a Dove! then should I flee away and be at rest: When shall I gratulate, and be gratulated there! O that I may be united to my God! When shall my Exile be at an end! When shall I see and know him, as I am seen and known! O that I were certify'd that I am a true Son and Servant of God, that I might long to be dissolv'd, and say, How long, Lord, how long holy and true?

The Submission.

But be this as the Lord will, whose it is to appoint the number of the Days of his Servant, if so be that while Days do not commence Eternity, I may number them and be wise, and fit my self for my great Change.

This is my Desire, Lord, regard it; this shall be my Endea­vour, Lord, further it.

PART II. Intercession for the Church Mi­litant.

1.

MAy the Creator of all Uni­verses, both visible and in­visible, visit the dark parts of the [Page 33] Earth with the glorious Beams of the Sun of Righteousness, that the Knowledge of Christ crucify'd may fill the Earth, as the Waters cover the Sea: Let the People praise thee, O God, yea, let all Peoples, Nations and Languages praise thee.

2.

And oh that those Countries which enjoy the Gospel, may not slander it so shamefully by the black and blasphemous Lives of its Pro­fessors! Lord, grant that the Power of thy Gospel may display the Lustre of its native Brightness, Simplicity, and Purity, in our Lives.

3.

Restore, I beseech thee, Beauty and Discipline, Soundness of Faith, genuine Ordinances, and Decency and Perfection of Worship to all [Page 34] Ecclesiastical Bodies professing Christianity: And to this end, give to them such true Christian Inge­nuity, as that they may all seve­rally and unanimously own, lament, and reform their different Excesses and Defects, that as there is but one true Christ, and but one true Chri­stianity, which can secure a Soul of Happiness; so we may all glorifie thee the same God and Father of us all, with one Mind, and with one Mouth.

4.

Look down, O Lord, I beseech thee, from the Habitation of thy Glory, with a special Eye of Fa­vour on this Church and Kingdom, which thou hast so long bless'd with many signal Mercies, and pre­serv'd in such amazing and endea­ring Methods of Providence: Par­don our great and crying Abuses of [Page 35] the same; and wherein soever all Orders of Men amongst us, in our own and the days of our Forefathers, have fallen short of the Glory of God; let it not any longer, I pray thee, be laid to our charge: Put a stop to that Latitude of Life and Opinion which divides and corrupts us: O Lord, reform us if we are still reformable, that we may not be deliver'd over into the Will of our Enemies, whose Mercies are cruel.

5.

Guard with the Guardianship of thy Holy Angels, the Sacred Person of William our King; grant that all his Designs and Ʋndertakings may be so truly Christian and Honourable, that they may prove in the end successful: Let no Weapon form'd against him prosper; and whenso­ever the number of his Days on [Page 36] Earth shall be fulfill'd, grant that he may be found such a Conquerour of all his spiritual and temporal Ene­mies, as may make Death to him a kind Translation of his Soul into a World of glorious Spirits: Bless him in his Royal Relatives, and espe­cially Catherine the Queen-Dowager, her Royal Highness the Princess Ann of Denmark: Counsel, O Lord, our Counsellors, and teach our Senators true Wisdom. Plant a true Affection for the Welfare of true Piety and these Kingdoms in all the Nobility, Judges, and Inferior Magistrates, that Righteousness may run down like a mighty Stream, and there may be no Complaints of Oppres­sion in our Streets.

6.

Showr down a very liberal Por­tion of thy Spirit on all that are separated to wait at thine Altar; [Page 37] give them all a commanding Sense of their own Insufficiency of themselves (and Sufficiency in and by Christ) to turn many to Righteousness; of the great Dignity of their Office; of the infinite Value of Souls, and that Blood which was shed for them; and of the Greatness of their Trust; and of that Account which at the last Day will be exacted from them. Enflame them with a genuine Zeal from above for thy Glory, that their Loins may be always girt for every good Enterprize which may promote the Plantation of New Colonies of Souls in Heaven. Adorn them with Meekness and Prudence, Circumspection and Humility, that they may be burning and shining Lights in this perverse Generation; that so they may recover the droo­ping Credit of their Sacred Function, and manifest it to be no less Ho­nourable in the sight of God and Angels, than 'tis slighted by Men [Page 38] of scornful and licentious Minds and Manners. Sublimate their Minds with a noble Degree of Sincerity, that they may divide the Word without deceit, and without re­serve. Set their Faces like a Flint against the reigning Impudence of the Age, and against the unjust Re­proaches of unreasonable and dis­orderly Men; and in what respect soever they may sometimes happen to be partly too Just, may they thereby be provoked to an Holy Jealousie over themselves. O for­tifie them with the Courage of a Baptist, that they may denounce the Terrors of the Lord against all Impiety, without partiality or re­spect of Persons, rebuking Vice boldly, both in season and out of season, with that spiritual Majesty and Authority, and that degree of Faith and Faithfulness, which be­comes the Embassadors of Christ, and the Stewards of the Mysteries [Page 39] of the Gospel. O send skilful and la­borious Husbandmen into thy Vine­yard, in the midst of our great di­stress. Furnish all Bishops with a wise and discerning Spirit, that they may lay hands suddenly on no Man; but stock the Church with such Holy and Judicious, such Active and Orthodox Priests, as may ho­nourably and manfully employ the Power of the Keys; put to shame and silene all Gainsayers, and win many Strangers, nay, even profest Enemies, over to Christ, that so having cultivated the Seeds of Hea­ven in themselves and others, they may stand with great Joy before Christ's Tribunal, and save both their own and the Souls of them who are committed to their Care. Lord, of thy abundant and unboun­ded Goodness, do thou hasten this Enlargement of thy true Invisible Church: O how long, how long, O our God, shall it be before the [Page 40] great Affairs of Eternity prosper in their hands!

7.

Do thou so prosper the Educa­tion of our Youth in our Univer­sities, and other Seminaries of Lear­ning, that the Publick Spiritedness, Profound Learning, and Generous Pie­ty of our Posterity, may shame the Selfishness, conceited Ignorance, and Degeneracy of this present Genera­tion.

8.

Give to Children, Servants, and all Inferiors, Docility and Submission; and to all Parents, Masters, and Benefactors, the Gift of wise In­spection and Conduct, that their Management of those that are un­der them, may not fail of thy Blessing, and the making them prove [Page 41] Blessings to themselves and the whole Community in their several Stations, Vocations, and Relations.

9.

Reward all that have done me good, with the Rewards of the better sort: Pardon and pacifie all that have wrong'd or slander'd me: Blast all malicious Intrigues, and breathe kindly on all laudable En­deavours.

10.

Sanctifie all Afflictions to all afflicted Persons; and as soon as the ends of thy Fatherly Good­ness have been answer'd, do thou speedily deliver them.

11.

Finally, I laud and magnifie thy Holy Name, in the behalf of my Country, for all thy Mercies con­ferr'd on me in my National Capa­city.

12.

Lord, pardon my manifold In­firmities, and accept of this poor Tribute of Worship, in the Mighty Name of Christ, and concluded with that compleat Form of Prayer which he himself hath taught us:

Our Father, &c.

Evening Offices OF Daily Repentance.

CLASS I. A PRAYER, Proper to be us'd before the Evening Office of Self-Refle­ction.

1.

INcomprehensible Soveraign of the World, thou art encircled with Light; with thee there can be no [Page 44] Darkness; for the Dahkness and Light to thee are both alike: The highest Heights and the deepest Depths; even Angels and Devils; Heaven and Hell are naked before thee; How much more then the Hearts of the Children of Men.?

2.

The Great and Good God print a firm and lively Sense of this All-searchingness of his Nature on my Mind, that by being always mind­ful of the piercing Consciousness of him with whom I have to do, I may always act and speak and intend, as in the Presence of the Highest, and by a profound Reverence of thy unspotted Purity and unlimitted Presence, I may be excited to make it the great Business of my Life, to cleanse my self daily more and more from all Filthiness of Flesh and Spirit.

3.

Particularly I intreat God at this time to enlarge my Conscience with the Presence of that Spirit which searcheth the very Depths of God, that I may dexterously apply the Maxims of my Blessed Lord to the state of my Soul, and pass an im­partial Sentence upon my Behaviour this day: O place me in a clear Light to my self; O enable me to re-call to my Memory all the Actions, Words, and Thoughts, that not the least Rebellion may be over­look'd: I know, O Lord, to what a gracious and wonderful Being I offer this Request; all Natures lie dissected in thy infinite Mind; how therefore should any Crevise of my Soul be hid from thee? Ʋniversal Knowledge is the Lord's, and to Him alone it does belong: Such Knowledge is too wonderful for [Page 46] Man, What Creature is there that can attain unto it? The Knowledge of my self, Lord, is the subject o [...] my Petition; a Knowledge which is most necessary for, and which (with thy Blessing) is attainable by me: O Witness of all my Ways, thy Wisdom can impart to me this Gift; thy Goodness will not suffer thee to let such an useful Pursuit go with­out a Blessing: O therefore, I be­seech thee, make the Method of my Pursuit acceptable in thy sight, and so prosper it; whatever things thou think'st fit to keep secret, suffer not any wilful sin to lie hid­den from me; and if my present Recollection discovers any wilful Sin, or Sins, that has been hitherto undiscern'd by me; do thou direct and enable me so to bewail and la­ment it (or them) and whatsoever new Guilt of this Day may be charg'd upon me by my Conscience as never to sink under the ever­lasting [Page 47] Terrour of the Flame, or the Horrour of the Dark, where there is endless Weeping and gnashing of Teeth: O bow down thine Ear to this humble Desire, even for Jesus Christ his sake; to whom with thee, Father, and the Holy Ghost, all Honour, Praise, and Glory, as by Mights and Thrones, Principa­lities and Dominions, Angels and Archangels, and all the Triumphant Host above; so by me be ascrib'd for ever and ever.

Amen.

CLASS II.

After the careful Application of that daily Method of Self-Examination, prescrib'd in the Directory; if your Con­science accuses you of any wil­ful Sin, or Sins committed the Day past; or brings to memory any Sin, or Sins, of a longer Date, which you never solemnly unsinn'd by Repen­tance, use this following Form.

THE First Evening Office OF Daily Repentance for Deliberate Sin.

1.

GReat and Terrible God! the Scepter of thy Kingdom is a Scepter of Equity; for thou art of purer Eyes than to behold Iniquity with delight: Thy Wrath is in­supportable, and tames the most Haughty of Apostate Spirits. Who can withstand the Judgment, who can grapple with the extream Ju­stice of the Most High?

2.

And yet, sottish and ungrateful Wretch that I am! I have depar­ted from my God, and liv'd as tho' I could escape his eyes; In spight of the Supream Mercy of the Su­pream Majesty, manifested in the Death and Resurrection of his Son, I have deliberately in many Instan­ces committed Impiety against my God and Saviour; [Iniquity against his Creation, and Impurity against my own Soul and Bo­dy] Here you may confess particular Sins; as, I have at such a time, and under such and such cir­cumstances.: Yea, this very day have I provok'd the Lord to Jealousie by the addition of a new Sin (or Sins) to my former crying Of­fences; so like a Brute so like a Devil; nay worse than either Brute or Devi [...] have I been before thee: For n [...] [Page 51] Brute ever spurn'd at Conscience, nor did ever any Devil trample upon Re­demption: Sinful Man alone is that Monster of Ingratitude, that fights both against Light and a Jesus at once.

3.

Wrath and Vengeance, Shame and Confusion; ineffable Anguish and Bitterness of Soul; Blackness and Darkness for ever; Communion with Devils and all the Damn'd; unquenchable Flames and disregar­ded Cries; even the ever-gnawing and never consuming Envy of a Judas and laps'd Angels, is, O Lord, I must acknowledge the true Portion of my corrupted Nature, and the just Reward of this (or these) and all my other sinful Deeds: All this I must own, O Lord, and all the known and unknown terrible In­gredients of Hell belongs to all [Page 52] who have forgot God, and Cru­cify'd the Son of God afresh; and therefore also unto me, O God, who have thus again sinn'd with so high a hand against thee; and after all thy long-suffering and condescen­sion, have still presum'd, by new Sins, to make my self a Derision to Devils, a Burden to my self, a Trai­tor to Christ, and a noisom Spectacle to God and Holy Angels; nay, for ought that I know, the Dregs of thy Fury ought to be drunk by so vile and villainous a Soul, if thou wert extream to mark what has been done amiss.

4.

But tho' to me belongeth Dam­nation; yet, to the Lord belongs Compassion; for the Lord is God, and not Man; and as is his Majesty, such is his Mercy: For doubtless were thy Ways as our Ways, or [Page 53] thy Thoughts like our Thoughts; doubtless, were not the Bowels of God larger in extent than the wide and deep Sea; doubtless, were it it impossible for fallen Man to find a favourable access to the Throne of Grace, and to be reconcil'd to his of­fended Maker, thou wou'dst never have sent thy eternal Begotten Son into this disorderly Portion of thy World: For, wherefore, O Lord, did he shed his infinitely precious Blood, if Blood, and Vapour, and Smoak, if showres of fierce and fla­ming Brimstone, if eternal exile of Spirit, Soul, and Body from thee, be the irreversible Fate of poor Man, and he be not capable of a repentance, which is more acceptable than the Repen­tance of Devil, and those Souls who are departed this Life; even a Repentance unto everlasting Life, which is never to be repented of.

5.

Wherefore, Heavenly Father, since I make use of the Name of no less a Person than the Christ of God and the Jesus of Men; since he is as mighty to soften and save, as thou art to destroy▪ since his Merits are as charming to thy Goodness, as thy Rage is formidable to us; let not the Dread Majesty of the Hea­vens and Earth, and all that are therein, take up the Weapons of his Anger against me, tho' a vain Man, which has not shew'd himself a Man, venture to expostulate with his Maker and his Judge, and to take unto himself Words, and say, Wilt thou enter into Controversie with a Worm? Is there no diffe­rence betwixt the Strength of a Devil and a Man? Is not Christ a potent Saviour? Shall not thy Mercy have its Triumphs as well [Page 55] as thy Justice? O Lord, hearken; O Lord, be gracious; O Lord, for­give; Lord, hide not thy face from me, but from my Sins; O Lord most Holy, O God most Mighty, most Merciful God and Saviour, suffer me not to fall into the bitter Pains of eternal Death: O Preser­ver of Men, do thou draw nigh un­to me; for as I have sinn'd, so I return and draw nigh unto God: I know now that 'tis not in vain still to repent, and therefore I humble my self, and supplicate thee for thy Pardon; I level my self with the Worms of the Earth, under the Scepter of thy Grace; I confess and grieve, and hide my self in the Rock Christ Jesus, for fear of the Lord, and the Glory of his Majesty: I come not, Lord, of mine own head, or in mine own Name, but by the Direction, and in the Name of the great High Priest, I beseech thee forgive me; O speak peace to my [Page 56] Soul; say to the Mempest within me, Be still. O do thou so won­derfully bless and be merciful unto me, as to shew me the light of thy Countenance: O that my Soul could hear thee saying, I am recon­cil'd; thy Prayers, and thy Tears are regarded my n [...]e. Could I but believe in the Lord Jesus, and re­pent effectually, there would be no room for doubt; for surely those Words are the Motto of that Cross on which Jesus Christ gave up the Ghost.

6.

O therefore, I beseech thee, do thou spare me a while, till my Soul has thro' Christ recover'd that Strength, which by my Sin I have lost: 'Tis not for the sake of li­ving here that I desire a continuance of Life; but that I may have an opportunity once more of enrobing [Page 57] my self with Divine Graces, that I may be a Partaker of the Inheri­tance of the Saints in Light, to look on the Lamb of God that was slain for returning Sinners; hear the Sighs of a broken Heart; sup­ply me with a practical Faith; work in my Mind an effectual Change from all Unrighteousness, to a steddy, flourishing, fruitful Habit of universal Holiness; make me truly lowly in Heart, a zealous Imitator of Christ; fight my Battels against the Hosts of Hell, and bring me at last, I entreat thee, to thy everla­sting Kingdom.

7.

With this Hope, I will labour to purifie my self, and do commit my self, with all my Fellow-Creatures, especially my particular Friends and Enemies, to the kind Influences of thy Grace, and thy protection [Page 58] this Night. Grant that my Sleep may be wholesom and temperate, that I may rise early the next Morning to renew my Thanks to thee for thy continu'd forbearance, and to offer my Vows of Gratitude in all sincerity. Let not my being now inspir'd with this soft Temper of Soul puff me up, or make me less aware of the deceitfulness of Sin: But may the Grace, Mercy, and Peace which I en­joy now from God the Father thro' Christ, by being husbanded with Vigilance and Humility, usher me into the Regions of Glory. Amen, Amen; so be it for Christ his sake:

In his Name and Words I con­clude my Address, together with my Thanks to thee for all thy Mercies; Our Father, &c.

CLASS III. THE Wary Christian's EVENING OFFICE OF Daily Repentance for Sins of Infirmity.

1.

MY Lord, and my God, Glory be to thy Grace that I have not to my Knowledge boldly pro­vok'd thee in any respect this day; for to thy Grace alone is this Ho­nour due. I know nothing of my [Page 60] self; yet am I not hereby justify'd: 'Tis thy Sentence must make or undo me for ever. O God, thou art greater than our Hearts, and knowest all things; if therefore my State is still dangerous; if any pestilential Habit still cleaves to my Soul; if any Mortal Act, or Word, or Thought, hath escap'd my Memory in my Examination; enlighten me, I beseech thee, and suggest it to my remembrance, that I may mingle my Tears with thy Mercy and Christ his Blood, before I dare to slumber: O suffer me not to lean on a de­lusive Peace: But if it be other­wise, praised be thy Goodness, as for all thy Mercies, so especially for this Gift of Innocence: Keep me from being high-minded on this or any other account, and give me true Sobriety of Mind, that I may not through Giddiness and [Page 61] future Neglects fall after all from Favour.

3.

Glory be to thy Grace and the Merits of Christ, that those ma­ny latent Deficiencies from thy Law, which cleave even to the sanctified in this state will not shut me out of thy Kingdom; may by degrees be lessen'd more and more here, and will be wholly remov'd here­after: O cleanse me from all my secret Faults; be they blotted out by the Blood of thy Son; and grant that by great Advances in Grace, an entrance may be vouch­saf'd me into the glorious Kingdom of God.

4.

With this comfortable Faith, I rely this Night on thy Providence, [Page 62] for convenient Repose and Defence both of Mind and Body. In the Name of Christ, I beseech thee do thou accept this imperfect Sacrifice of Prayer and Praise; in his com­prehensive Form, I also crave par­don for the Wandrings and Imper­fections thereof, and do testifie my Charity to thy Creation.

Our Father, &c.

THE Midnight Office OF ABSTRACTION.

1.

O My Soul, now thou art secret unto Men, but thou art not so unto God, nor for all that thou knowest, unto many good and bad Angels, who often behold thee as well as thy Creator, when thou neither seest nor thinkest of them: Now therefore that thy Eyes are bound by the Darkness of the Night, let thy Mind also be turn'd inwards by the profound silence of thy internal Powers, that the Dark­ness [Page 64] of external Sense may encrease the Vigour of my intellectual Sight.

2.

Commune now with thine own Spirit; O search and see whether it be fit for Communion with God; which may be easily known, if thou know'st whether Light or Darkness be the predominant Prin­ciple therein. Call to remembrance thy Sins; call to remembrance the Mercies of God; dive deep into thy self; and then say, if thou canst, that there is not something in the centre of thy Frame, which is not perishable like the Efforts of thy Blood. Do not be like the captive Multitude of Sense, who thro' neglect of Abstraction, are a secret to themselves: Turn thy Nature over and over in thy Thoughts, and especially view the better part thereof, and observe [Page 65] wherein thou hast defac'd or im­prov'd it.

3.

Think 'till thou art thorough­ly convinc'd; and when thou art so, do thou frequently consider that thou carry'st Immortality in Embrio always within thee: 'Tis true the Soul rather believes than sees, whilst 'tis thus imprison'd in the Womb. But when its Mortal Part is ripe for the Grave (which may be long before even the Autumn of Man's life) 'twill make its entrance upon the immor­tal Stage.

4.

Think therefore of thy great Change in time, before thou art forc'd to launch into the Ocean of Eternity, lest the unexpected and [Page 66] unprepar'd-for sight of the in­visible World surprize thee with another-guess Dread than that which the Faithful do find then. Remember that the State of Man here on Earth is like the old Pro­bationary State of Fallen Angels, before they degenerated into De­vils, and like the State which all the Impenitent who are gone be­fore thee once enjoy'd, a State of Time and Opportunity, a State of Work and Preparation for that State which is unalterable. But the State of Saints and Fiends, the State of Loyal and Apostate Angels, the State of Angels and Men, who have been acquitted and condemn'd before the last Tri­bunal, is a State of exact Judgment, Reward, and Eternity.

5.

Then be thy Recompence Glory or Vengeance, it will never ex­pire, there will be no escape from the one or loss of the other; it will indeed have a beginning, but its end will never be found: Since therefore Eternity will find and keep thee such as Time leaves thee, and Eternity is inestimable, how canst thou value Time at too high a Rate? Let the Time past suffice thee to have serv'd Pride, Envy, and Concupiscence: Now be thou entirely a Servant of Christ, and a Subject of Divine Zeal and Chari­ty, that an ample Prospect of Hea­ven may ennoble and enlarge thee.

6.

Make the Agonies of the Tor­mented in Hell, and the Joys of [Page 68] the Bless'd above familiar to the Mind by Meditation, that it may supplant the inchanting intimacy, which sense will otherwise find in thy Soul, as it does mostly in the Souls of the MANY▪ Fancy thy Spirit to be taking leave of this Cottage of Flesh; for this Custom tends greatly to the purgation of the Heart, and the weaning of thy Affections from all its darling I­dols: It makes bare the Vanity of the World, stabs the Love of an Earthly Life to the Heart, and cherishes divine Love in the Soul: Awake therefore, O my Soul, strive to be cloath'd with new Strength, and to regain Paradise: Meditate, and abstract thy self, whilst Sense is tame and quiet, and does not hinder the orderly Peace of the Mind; check every wanton Sally of Imagination, be-aw'd with a sense of the Divine Omnipre­sence; prostrate thy Thoughts of [Page 69] thy self, and consider, and say,

Great was the Rebellion and the Overthrow of the Apostate Inha­bitants of Heaven.

Great was, and is their Envy against us, and the Fall of all Man­kind in Adam.

Great is the Mercy of our affron­ted God, and the Redemption that is tender'd by the Lord Jesus.

Great is our Blindness and Ob­stinacy, deep and strong are our ill Habits, mighty indeed are our Ghostly Enemies.

Mightier and more are the An­gels that are for us; wonderful is the Courtesie, powerful are the strivings of the supreme Spirit with Man.

Sharp is the Edge of Conscience, even sharper than a Two edged Sword, and so great is the Peace of a good Man, that it alone might satisfie, and every one but himself is a stranger to his Joy.

Amazingly great is the change of Death; so terrible also is the Day of the Lord, and the Universal Judgment of Angels and Men.

Who can dwell in Everlasting Burnings? Are we stronger than God? Who can conceive the Plea­sures of Heaven? What Mortal hath ever feasted upon God?

7.

And cannot all this provoke that aspiring Principle within me, which was made for the Enjoyment of a God, to discipline its Thoughts? To be choice in the Motions of my Will? To make the Body know its original distance from the Soul? To resist the Faction of Hell? To be always on its Guard, when it converses with its frail and trea­cherous Fellow-creatures? To be a wise Steward of Time? To have a mean Opinion of my self and this [Page 71] flowing State? To keep close and constant correspondence with Hea­ven, by frequent Prayer and Praise, and holy Hungrings and Thirstings after the Beatifick Vision? And, in a word, to use its utmost skill, and all possible care, to file, and burnish, and enrobe my Soul with all those beauteous Fruits of the Spirit, which are the ground-work of the Happiness of a Man? That so it may be conquer'd throughout endless Ages by the Brightness and Love of God, and obtain a Place among the innumerable, the eter­nal, and inconceivably glorious Conquerors, and Kings, and Priests of God.

With this Hope return to thy Rest, O my Soul: The Lord guide, the Lord strengthen thee, and bring thee to the Haven where thou would'st be. Amen, for Christ his Sake.

A Practical Directory.

CHAP. I. Modestly defending, clearly ex­plaining, and affectionately pressing the regular use of this New Method of Daily Devo­tion.

IT being very fitting that the Reasonableness of a Daily Me­thod of Devotion, which professes to be entirely new after so many Volumes of this Nature, should be [Page 73] demonstrated: It being likewise as fitting that those who mean well, tho' they know little, should not only be furnished with suitable helps to Devotion, but also with a clear Explanation of pious helps by any person who offers them such Assistance, that they may not pray only with Chearfulness and Affe­ction, but also with that clear Un­derstanding, which is a valuable Gift of the Spirit, and recommen­dation of our Addresses to God, as well as the other two: And lastly, it being very fitting that the faint hands and hearts should be animated and lifted up, which the best dis­pos'd persons may sometimes stand in need of, I have thought fit by the Adviee of some good Christians, and my own Commiseration of the Ignorance of some illiterate, and mine own and others Sluggishness (now I have by God's Blessing fi­nished this small part of a large [Page 74] Body of Devotions) to add a pra­ctical Directory, wherein, by God's help, I shall,

I. Give a short and clear Account concerning daily growth in Grace.

II. I shall consider how Closet-Devotion contributes to it.

III. What Method of daily Clo­set-Devotion contributes most li­berally to it, therein shewing the Reasonableness of this new Method of Devotion in general.

IV. I shall lay open the Structure of each particular Office, and the Reasonableness of it.

V. I shall add two or three ne­cessary Cautions.

VI. I shall conlude with some suitable Practical Exhortations.

CHAP. II. Of Daily Growth in Grace.

SInce the Real Christian's daily Religion of the end, is to grow in Grace, 'tis necessary, in the first place, to speak something concer­ning Growth in Grace: I will there­fore, first, shew what Growth in Grace is; and, secondly, how a Man may know whether he grows in Grace.

Grace is any Degree of Beauty and Strength of Soul which is more than natural. There are Degrees of Knowledge, and Liberty of Will, which we enjoy by Nature; and are essential to the bare existence of a Nature which is partly spiritual. These Degrees are the Gift of God and such as our Souls cannot lose, [Page 76] unless they cease to be. In short, they are such Degrees of Light and Liberty, which are consistent with a spiritual Nature's being in a state of Ʋncreatur'dness, tho' not of Ʋncreatedness. Now the Death of Adam and Devils, not consisting in a cessation from being, but a deprivation of so much Light and vigorous Rectitude of Will, as is necessary to make a spiritual Crea­ture happy; Man may be and is born with certain Portions of Light and Vigour of Will, which we call natural, and are the issue of God's bare willing our Existence, and yet nevertheless be in a state of Damnation. Consequently this be­ing consistent with the Enmity of God (who will'd by an eternal De­cree, whether we will or no our Existence, and the Existence of all spiritual Natures, to be eternal, but not to be eternally happy, by an unconditional Decree of the [Page 77] same extent) that which is emi­nently call'd the Grace of God, is his Tender to us, by and thro' Christ, of that more than natural Degree of Light, and Rectitude of Will, whereby a Man is plac'd in a state of Evangelical Fitness for the eternal Complacency of God, in the said Nature improv'd.

This Complacency of God, in the said Nature improv'd, arising from the said Degrees of Knowledge and Rectitude of Will, is that real Immortality which Lucifer lost in Heaven, and Adam forfeited in Paradise. Hence 'tis that both the General Capableness of human Na­ture's receiving this degree of Light and Liberty by Christ; and also the more wise and industrious individual Partakers of the said re­deemable Nature their Acquisition thereof, are both call'd Grace; be­cause, 'tis extraordinary Compas­sion and Gift, a greater than the [Page 78] Gift of a Creator only; the Gift of such a degree of Light is call'd Illumination, because the former de­gree of Light is Darkness in com­parison with this; and the latter degree of Scope of Will, is call'd the Liberty of the Sons of God; be­cause the narrow degree of its na­tural Scope is a Prison, when com­par'd with supernatural Scope: For a Devil and a meer natural Man, have both of them some degrees of Knowledge and Scope, and conse­quently of Light and Liberty; other­wise they would cease to be susce­ptible of a Hell, for 'tis Heaven discern'd in themselves, according to their primitive Capacity, that causes that Anguish and Envy, which arises from their Reflection on their foolish and ungrateful a­buse of Opportunity. So then a state of Grace, as 'tis us'd in the New Testament, is a state of super­natural Light in the Soul of Man, [Page 79] together with at least as much Re­ctitude of Will, as is necessary to recover the Favour of God. Now growth in this Grace is as essential to the flourishing Condition of the Divine supernatural Life of a Chri­stian Soul, (during its continuance here (it being an Human Soul's state of Adolescence, as growth in heighth and bulk of Body is essen­tial to the thriving Condition of the Animal Life till the Body has commenc'd Manhood. And this growth in Grace, is the Soul's en­creasing in Faith, Magnanimity, Heavenly-mindedness, Humility, Pu­rity, Charity, and all such-like Di­vine Principles, and internal Ha­bits, that are proper to regenerate Souls, and are exerted in the ex­ternal Exercises of forgiving Inju­ries, prudent Provision for our Bo­dies and Dependents, oral Prayer and Praise, and the like external Subjects of the Gospel-Precepts.

From this account of Growth in Grace, we may easily know, second­ly, when we grow in Grace: For since Grace is a state of universal Rectitude of Soul, and is divided into several Parts of Purity, Cha­rity, and the like, according to the different Relations wherein we stand plac'd, with respect ro the Creator and his Creation, and which do severally display themselves in our Lives, at those Seasons which Divine Providence allows for each; 'Tis not a Christian's business to be solicitous, as to his particular ex­ternal Exercises (provided they be lawful and laudable in the Judg­ment of the Gospel, and those be preferr'd, if two or more such stand in competition, which Providence and the Gospel prefer) but his so­licitude must be vigorously to ex­ercise and improve within him­self, during every exercise of Ver­tue, the particular part of universal [Page 81] Grace (which is the Blood and Life of a renew'd Soul) that is pe­culiar to, and mostly ornamental of every present external Exer­cise.

Hence it is, that a poor, honest Mechanick Christian may thrive as much in Grace in his Shop, as a Priest by the daily use of the Altar, provi­ded he prefers his honest Work be­fore the Sacrament; because Provi­dence has so preferr'd it in him. Tho receiving the Sacrament, as to the external Solemnity of it, and the intrinsick Worth of the Exercise it self, is more preferrible to him and all pious Souls in it self, when it does not stand in competition with that degree of secular Industry, which Justice and moderate Care for a Family requires.

Hence also it comes to pass, that as the thriving Mechanick Chri­stian is better every Sunday, or Sacrament-Day, than he was the [Page 82] Day before; because that intent­ness of Spirit (which is the pecu­liar, ornamental, internal Exercise of the conjoin'd Worship both of Soul and Body, especially when offer'd with the Memorials of the Mediator's Passion) exceeds the degree of his contented submissi­on and heavenly-mindedness (which is the greatest internal Ornament of a Christian then) during his last external Exercise of his secu­lar Calling: So also the next Day after the said Sunday, or last Sacrament-Day, if he thrives, he is better than he was then, because his Heavenly-mindedness, during the Exercise of his secular Cal­ling, exceeds the intent Fervour of his Spirit, during his last Ex­ercise of the most solemn Wor­ship on the last Lord's Day, if Allowances in the Examination be made for the different Natures of [Page 83] both the external Exercises. For though one external Exercise has more Religious Splendour in it self than another, yet the Reli­gious internal Splendour of the Spirit of a Christian, may be diffusing it self with a daily en­crease, both of extent and power, under both alike, in case they are all us'd in their Seasons; and those that are the more immediately Charitable and Religious, are heartily preferr'd all Opportuni­ties.

Wherefore a Christian that would daily know, whether or no he grows in Grace either, first, con­siders daily the Chain of his lawful external Exercises the day past; and then considers what particular Concomitant Divine Tempers of Mind are the peculiar ornamental Tempers of a Christian during each Exercise; and after that, takes the [Page 84] height of its advance in each Divine Temper during each Exercise; and so by deep abstraction of Thought, sees whether the progress of the Soul, in the different Divine Tem­per, which is ornamental of each subsequent Exercise, exceeded its progress in the particular internal Divine Temper of each foregoing different Exercise. In which pro­cedure of practical Abstraction, it always also compares the propor­tionable or disproportionable Ad­vantages and Disadvantages of Di­vine Assistance, Temptations, Place, Time, State of Body, and the diffe­rent Natures of the external Exer­cises, and the like. Or, secondly, the Soul takes an account of its Carriage at different times, during similar Exercises, and compares the different Improvements of the similar Tempers of each similar or like Exercises at different times, [Page 85] with the Circumstances of Assi­stance and Temptation, and the like, during each time of Exer­cise.

This, in short, seems to me to be what St. Peter exhorts us to, when he exhorts the Christians to grow in Grace, and to give all dili­gence to add to our Faith Vertue, &c. for if these things be in you, and a­bound, they make you that ye shall nei­ther be barnen, nor unfruitful in the Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things, is blind. From which latter Words, 'tis evident the Apostle does not suppose any Man in a State of Grace, who has not all these Ver­tues always ready within him, to be elicited and vigorously ex­erted at different Times. A Man must have the Seeds of Grace with­in him, to be in an infant-state of [Page 86] Grace, and must be growing in all, if he is a real, thriving, adult Chri­stian. But the Contents of this Chapter may he clearly discuss'd, if God grant me Life, in a particu­lar Discourse concerning Birth. May this suffice for the present pur­pose.

CHAP. III. Of Closet-Devotion's further­ance of daily Growth in Grace; and the Reasonableness of the Method of this New daily Method of Devotion in ge­neral.

WHatever external Exercises of Religion may be only Providentially, or tho' constantly, yet but at some set Times necessa­ry, I presume 'tis agreed by all, That the Exercises of the United Devotion of our Hearts and Tongues, with reverent Postures of Body in our Closets, if Health and opportunity of Retirement will allow it, is constantly the daily Du­ty of a Christian, be he in the state of Infancy or Perfection. He that wholly omits the Duty of Prayer [Page 88] and Piety, lives without God. He that omits it in secret, is a Phari­see (perhaps worse) in a Congrega­tion. He that performs, but al­ways performs it only in his Mind, is to be commended so far for doing that, which in a lower or higher Degree, is the perpetual Duty and Employ of a wakeful Christian, whose continual sense of God's Presence and Goodness, join'd with God's Grace and Spirit, is the very Sôul of a supernatural Life. But nevertheless; he cannot be com­mended for forgetting that he is a compounded Creature; and I can­not but think it my Duty Friendly to inform him, That as humble Gestures of Body, without a sprightly Awe of God in the Mind, are the Skeleton of (not real) Wor­ship; since 'tis not only imperfect, but lifeless: So the bare elation of the Soul to God, if it be never ac­company'd, with Reverence of Bo­dy [Page 89] is not the compleat Worship of a Man. Why should we part the Body and Spirit which God has join'd together; Dost thou not be­lieve the Resurrection of the Bo­dy? If God designs to glorifie thy Body to all eternity, (i. e) in case thou hallow it by the Purity of thy Soul, why shouldst thou deny it the Honour of joining sometimes with thy Soul, to do all the Honour it can to thy God? Or dost thou think that thy solitary mental Ho­mage, is equal to the Homage of a simple Spirit, who darest to refuse solemnly sometimes, according to St. Paul's Exhortation, to present and bow thy Body before God, whilst thou canst present it a living Sacrifice on Earth?

By this united Devotion of Spi­rit, Soul, and Body, in our Clo­sets, we make our Senses do Obei­sance to Faith, and give an irresi­stible Evidence of our sense of [Page 90] God's Omnipresence to our own Consciences: By this we keep our Souls intent on the other World; and we see how far the things of the World do, and how far they do not, make deep Impression on our Affections. But because the happy Tryal of the constant Ob­servance of this Religious Practice, recommends it more than the Tongue even of an Angel can; I resign those who neglect it, to the Discipline of that Mighty Spirit of God, whose methods of bringing Souls to God, surpass our compre­hension; and will proceed to shew what method makes this Religious Exercise contribute most to a Soul's growth in Grace.

And since I have given a Speci­men of the most advantagious dai­ly Method of Ordinary Devotion that I know of, this may be done as well as I can do it, by a clear and brief Representation of the Rea­sonableness [Page 91] of this Method in ge­neral.

As for the Seasons of the Day, the Three first of them were the set Seasons of those two great Masters of Address to God, DAVID and DANIEL; and the Fourth Season sometimes is mention'd by the former of them, and was fa­mous in the Infancy of the Chri­stian Religion.

The different Natures of the se­veral Parts of Addresses to God, and those particular holy Tempers of Soul that are peculiarly ornamen­tal of each Part, and the Propriety of each Part, to the Season herein allotted for it, together with the Reasons of the different Structures of each Office, shall, God willing, be laid open in the next Chap­ter.

Wherefore the only thing which remains to be accounted for, in the defence of the General Structure of [Page 92] the whole Daily Office, is our al­lotment of a distinct Season, fo [...] each principal different Part of Ad­dress to God.

It is agreed by all devout Per­sons, be the Nature of our Address to God what it will, That Humi­lity, an awful Sense of God, and Faith, are necessary Recommenda­tions of it; because these are ge­neral Essential Ingredients of all ac­ceptable Address to God, and therefore peculiar to none: accor­dingly I took particular care to contrive▪ that a Vein of these run thro' every one of the Offices.

'Tis, I presume, also agreed, that Petitionary, Penitential, Eucha­ristical, and Intercessive Addresses to God, have each of them, be­sides those already-mention'd Qua­lifications that are common to them all, their certain, peculiar, ornamental, holy Tempers of Spi­rit, which differ very much, with [Page 93] respect to the natural Modifications of Sense which attend them; tho' as they are sanctify'd, they all con­spire to the same end; as, Grief for our Sins, a sense of our Wants, and a joyful sweet sense of God's Mercies, and the like.

Consequently these different po­stures or Spirit, with respect to the different Modifications of Soul, wherewith they are necessarily at­tended in this state (tho' they are very reconcilable at different times, or at the same time in very low degrees, since as they are sancti­fy'd, they carry on the same end, and are but the same universal ho­ly Frame of Spirit, differently mo­difying the Soul at different Sea­sons upon different Occasions) cannot be all together at the same time, each in their Zenith, or im­mediately in succession so. The consequence of which is, that those different parts of pious Addresses [Page 94] to God, which require the said different holy Tempers of Mind cannot be all so solemnly perform' [...] together, as at different Seasons o [...] the Day; tho' every part may b [...] implicitely in each, and yet each Office require the vigorous exer­tion of but one holy Modification of Soul.

Wherefore, whereas the usual Method of using every sort of De­votion thrice a day, distinctly and explicitely, either makes the so­lemn use of each part of Address wholly impracticable, which be­trays into Lukewarmness; or else makes it impracticable, without a great deal of time and trouble to change so many different Postures of Soul immediately, one after ano­ther; which inconvenience induce Tediousness, and often betrays in to frequent omission of Closet Devotion to God: On the contra­ry, the Method of Distinction i [...] [Page 95] this Book, makes Devotion be more pleasantly and intently per­form'd in all its parts, and with less expence of Time, and hin­derance of our social Duties: For the Soul by this means, agit quod agit, does what it does to the purpose; because it has but one po­sture of Soul at a time to provide; and yet by the use of the Lord's Prayer (which of it self is a com­pleat Office of mix'd Devotion) it uses all together every Season, with due Reverence, though not with the utmost heighth of every Pas­sion. Thus in all the inspir'd Psalms, be they Penitential or Eu­charistical, or of any other kind, 'tis easie to observe, that though here and there a sprinkling of some other part of Devotion, be incidently inserted, yet the so­lemn use of it, require but one reigning Cardinal Posture of Soul.

CHAP. IV. A View of the particular Stru­cture of every Office.

OUr Sprightliness after the Re­freshment of sound and tem­perate Sleep, being a lively Image of the future Resurrection of our Bodies, and naturally disposing our Minds to be brisk and chearful, I could not but think the Morning the properest time for the plea­sant Exercise of Religious Grati­tude.

This Office is divided into Five Classes.

The First is preparatory to the due Exercise of Gratitude. The two First Sections may be us'd be­fore any Address to God, it being only an Acknowledgment of the [Page 97] Apostacy of our Nature, and our un­worthiness to approach to God, in or­der to engage us to Reverence and Humility in our Addresses, and also a Remembrance of our Saviour's purchasing the Favour of Access, and a Capableness of Regeneration, in order to maintain within us a modest Faith and Confidence. But the Third Section must be appro­priated to this Office, it being an express Resolution to praise God, from the Consideration of our Li­berty under the Gospel, and Obli­gation thereto, and especially upon the account of Christ's shedding his Blood for us; which being here mention'd by the way of Eminence, it is not mention'd in the next Class.

This Second Class begins with Glory therefore, putting in execu­tion what was resolv'd upon before. By Recital is meant, speaking of [Page 98] God in the Third Person HE; and by address in the Second as THOƲ. The former is almost as frequent in the Psalter, as the latter. The Second Section Commemorates God's Infinite and Incomprehensi­bleness in general; the Third, His Attributes and splendid Atten­dance; the Fourth, the Beauty and Order of the Inanimate Worlds; the Fifth and Sixth the Works of Creation and Providence, and par­ticularly the Preservation of Hu­man Nature by Birth, which is a very Instructive Subject to the Thoughtful, and excites wonder­ful Thoughts of God, for our last Night's particular Preserva­tion. At last, the Soul perceiving God's Mercies too many to be numbred, concludes in an holy Amaze.

Therefore the Soul, after oral Gratitude, prostrates the Body to the Ground, and uses the De­dicatory [Page 99] of the Third Class, and dedicates it self without the least reserve to God's Spirit, whose Temples St. Paul hath told us good Christians are. This Custom ob­liges us daily to remember our Baptismal Vow; and 'till we have renounc'd this, I do not see why this may not be an ordinary pra­ctise: For our Baptismal Vow is not made the less Obligatory by our neglect of the laudable pra­ctise of the daily recognition of it. Therefore I desire the Reader to say daily, This Day I again dedicate, &c. This being done, it imme­diately resigns it self to Providence, which is another essential part of Gratitude to God. And now it says, I am thine, O save me, 'tis but fitting that the Soul being wholly God's, it should quite abandon the World, the Flesh, and the Devil; as it does in the Second Section of this Class, and long for the Victory [Page 100] over its predominant Constitution-Corruptions, which is the main Victory of a Christian. And be­cause he is suppos'd the Night be­fore to have made his Peace with God, a prudent Glance upon this need not hinder, but rather en­hance its Gratitude, by the consi­deration of his Compassion and Long-suffering with such noisom Creatures. The third and last Se­ction is a modest Dependance up­on God for his Grace: And indeed if we can rely on God for our Bo­dies, much more should we for our Souls.

In the Fourth Class, the Soul having discharg'd its part of Gra­titude to God, assumes the Bold­ness of Petition for spiritual Fa­vours, and vents its holy trem­bling and solicitude to perform its Vows. The Fifth Class minds us that the Lord's Prayer is a sufficient joining of the Will with the Choir [Page 101] of Heaven, in their Praises of the Divine Majesty, and an expression of our sympathy with all who are yet left in a state of Trial; and therefore 'tis call'd a Catholick, (i. e.) an universal Conclusion; we do thereby extend our Benevolence to all Creatures that are actually happy, or still capable of Hap­piness, and make them Partners of our Petitionary Addresses.

II. Of the Noon-Office.

IN the midst of the Day, the Soul is surrounded with Temptati­ons, and most in danger of being plung'd in the mean Solicitudes and Thoughts of this Life; and there­fore I cannot but think that at this time Exercises of Vigilance are a [Page 102] very necessary Antidote against the Infections of Darkness. This first Part may be us'd before Dinner: And lest the pleasing of Sense should abate our Expectation of the noble Enjoyment of Heaven, we have allotted a Gratulatory Of­fice to raise our Affections upwards; and because the use of Food does naturally suggest to serious and wise Men, the close social Depen­dence of all God's Works one upon the other; which Consideration is a great Friend to Charity: We have also allotted for after-Dinner, an Office of Intercession for the Church Militant.

In the Office of Vigilance, the Soul first complains of the unsatis­factoriness of all earthly Things; and in the second Section, strives to enlarge it self, and reach after God Himself, who is a real, and really Noble Enjoyment, and more than commensurate to the Capa­city [Page 103] of a spiritual Nature; after this in the other Class (Sect. 1.) to bring it self to a firm habit of Seriousness, through the considera­tion of the difficulty of being sav'd, and the greatness of natural Weak­ness, and the vastness of the Strength, and Number of its Enemies, it ear­nestly prays for the Power of be­ing acceptably obedient unto death. And because our Saviour has assur'd us, that if we seek the Kingdom of God, and the Righteousness there­of, all things shall be added to us and that God best knows whether Plenty or Poverty, Honour or Dis­honour in this World be best; one for this, another for that Person; and one at one time, and another at another time, for the same Chri­stian; and therefore that we should equally be prepar'd for both, the Soul does not trouble it self to make particular Prayers in the Dark for temporal Uncertainties; [Page 104] but goes the next Class to acquaint God particularly with what it un­feignedly desires, by turning the great Sermon on the Mount into a Prayer, because it knows that Po­verty of Spirit, and Purity of Heart, and the other Dispositions therein inculcated, are absolutely necessary for a Man that would be eternally happy. Different Cir­cumstances of Life here may be of a very different Nature to different Persons; but these are certain and necessary for every wise Petitioner; he that gets these, and he only, is a true Favourite of Heaven.

Tho' 'tis unlawful to Worship Angels, yet 'tis a great part of Charity (which teaches to Rejoice with them that Rejoice;) to gratulate them and their happy state; and helps very much towards the subli­mating the Affections.

In the Intercessive Part of Chari­ty, I have offer'd a very long [Page 105] Prayer for the Clergy; being very well satisfy'd, that if the Laity were mov'd, by our great Defects, to pray as affectionately and con­stantly for us, as they slight and rail against us (not considering that our Office is still as Venerable as ever) God would restore Christian Discipline some way or other, and raise up many Faithful Pastors a­mongst us, tho' it were at the ex­pence of a second miraculous effu­sion of his Spirit. Good Lord, en­crease our Faith in the use of this Prayer.

Of the Structure of the Evening Office.

The End of the Day being or­dinarily the time of the greatest leisure, the good Christian takes an opportunity to converse with himself, and to see whether he has kept himself unspotted from the [Page 106] World, in the pursuit of his Busi­ness. Perhaps it may be thought improper to use Prayer of such a length daily before this Exercise; but if we consider, that the Fals­hood or Soundness of Internal Peace, depends upon the right ma­nagement of this Exercise, and what a Mystery of Treachery our Hearts are, a Man can never too solemnly set about it, or think him­self above the need of a peculiar Assistance from God in it, 'Tis an easie thing to know, whether we are externally innocent; but not so easie to know, according to the true Rules of daily Growth in Grace already laid down, whether or no we are in a growing or im­proving state of Grace, which is an internal Habit. The observance of the said Two Rules, after we have compar'd our Carriage, and examin'd from Hour to Hour, with the Sermon on the Mount, is the [Page 107] usefullest way of examining our selves that I can prescribe. This Method will be tedious to those who are not us'd to abstract them­selves; but by use it will grow as familiar and compendious, as 'tis certain and safe.

The abuse of the same General or Particular Confession of Sins, howsoever the Day has been spent, is very obvious to Men of but very little Judgment, it making Confes­sion it self to be slightly us'd; nay, sometimes sinful, when Men are taught to live always in a tepid state, by making the same Confes­sion to our Lives end (which can be only proper in case of a Man's sin­ning and repenting in a circle, but never repenting so, as not to repent of his deceitful Repentance) and perhaps sometimes to charge our selves with the Faults we never committed; as if those Faults which the best Men stand actually guilty [Page 108] of, were not sufficient, with the help of Thought, to make them humble enough. Therefore I suppose the reason of this Division of the Even­ing Offices will be obvious to the meanest Capacities at first sight. For a right Judgment to be made between Mortal Sins, and Sins of Infirmity, I refer the Reader to the Reverend Doctor Lucas's incom­parable Treatise concerning Reli­gious Perfection. The Office of Abstraction, so call'd from its ab­stracting or taking the Mind off from Objects of external Sensation, explains and exhorts for it self; and therefore I will be frugal of my room, and desist from making Re­marks.

CHAP. IV. Necessary Cautions.

BUt notwithstanding all that I have said concerning the Com­posure of these New Offices, the Ignorance of some, and the Censori­ousness of others, will still oblige me to declare that the Design of this Tract is not to give a New Account, either of the Nature of Devotion in general, or to propose any new sorts of Devotion, but to offer a more Convenient Method of Ordinary Closet-Piety of the Means: A Contrivance of this Nature is not the Result of deep Learning, or an acute Philosophical Genius, but of the honest Principles of Sim­plicity of Heart and Christian Pru­dence, which consists in a regular Appointment of the modal Process [Page 110] and Seasons of external Duties. Since therefore 'tis a Discovery that cannot make the Author more valuable in the World, I do not see how any charitable Christian can impute the Author's Publication of this Treatise to a Principle of Desire of Fame, or Self-conceit, or any other secular Emulation, whatever Weakness he may be con­scious of to himself.

Neither am I so bigotted to my own Method, as to detract from the Labours of others. I own my Soul and my Book to be a Debtor to many Books of Common Methods in a great measure. This Method is not asserted here to be Matter of Duty when known: If the Reasons already given for the Conveniency of it, cannot prevail with the Rea­der to make a Trial, (which a wa­ry Christian in a Matter of this Moment should not methinks deny) I have done my part, and can be [Page 111] content with the secret Approba­tion of my own, and my Friends Experience, after an Intimacy with both Methods.

As for the Forms themselves, they were not compos'd to confine my self, or any others to the use of them; but however 'twas conve­nient to compose some for a more lively Explication of the Method; which may be observ'd, without adhering to them wholly, or in part, as to the Expression. This I think may resolve all Cavils at any Expressions of Address; if I use them improperly to thee, I don't use them so to God! Thou may'st add, or contract, as Conscience di­rects, and yet gain benefit by the Book too: Our Method of Closet-Devotion should ordinarily be ex­act, for the Solemnity of the Em­ployment requires it; but our Ex­pressions need not be so in this Ex­ercise, in case our Affections be but [Page 112] clean and polite; and therefore constant Forms of Expression are no less needless in private upon the account of God's consciousness to our meaning, than they are need­ful in publick, where the Invisi­bleness of our Hearts may make those hasty Expressions improper for their Obscurity or Abuse; and therefore culpable to Men be the Thoughts, which they are intended to represent, never so grateful to the Searcher of Hearts.

And farther, tho' we must not habitually neglect the Worship of our Tongue in private, yet some­times when (as 'tis oft with de­vout Persons) the Workings of our Mind soar above Expression: Men­tal Prayer alone is no omission, but rather the more laudable. But when 'tis otherwise, and we are dry of sprightly Ideas at Seasons of Address, an affecting Form of Scripture-Expressions may do well [Page 113] to be at hand, since they may in part assist the drowsie Soul, tho' they may not wholly satisfie the Person whose Mind is awaken'd and enlarg'd by them.

CHAP. V. Suitable Advice and Exhorta­tions.

LEt me now, Dear Christian, in the Behalf of thy Soul, en­treat thee to use thy diligence in turning thy Heart to God; if it be possible, never venture to omit the solemn Duty of thy Closet, but be a constant Attendant on the King of Heaven; and be sure before you venture to speak, consider and compose thy Mind to an awful Frame, and bend thy Body thrice down to the ground in Honour to the Blessed Trinity.

2.

In a Morning meditate on God, and let his Excellency and Mercies force thee to say, It is a good thing to tell of God's Loving Kindness in the Morning, and of his Veracity in the night Season. Let this be thy Em­ployment, which is the Employ­ment of Angels and Stars innume­rable. Shall every thing but De­vils and damn'd Men praise God; and Man, who is a redeemable Sin­ner, neglect to give Thanks for his unspeakable Gift, his own, his eternal, his begotten, his only Son? The dull and dumb Ass knows how to reproach silence on such a Theme; for he knows his Owner as well at his Crib: Certainly were thy Soul clad with that Gratitude, which is the Purple of Angels; cer­tainly didst thou feel God enlarging thy Soul; certainly were thy Powers within 'girt ready for E­ternity, the bent of thy Soul this [Page 115] way would be so irresistible, that thou could'st never refrain not only from venting thy Praise, but also dedicating thy whole Man dai­ly to God: Withstand the Vio­lence of all Charms but those of Gratitude, which the glorious In­habitants above can't resist: The splendid Prospect of a Christian, and his vigorous sense of the Love of Christ constrains him to praise God, and God-man: Incessant Hallelujahs for Ghostly Victories, and incessant Dedication and Re­signation of himself to the Su­preme Monarch of all the Glori­fy'd Universes, will be the Ever­lasting Royalty and Priesthood of a Christian, and is the End of his being made at first, and of his being ransom'd and sanctify'd after he had been uncreatur'd. Let all Souls therefore laud the Lord: Let those praise the Lord whom he has redeem'd.

3.

Remember, I beseech thee, th [...] great Worth of eternal Happiness and if it be possible never fail o [...] securing thy self some retiremen [...] in the heat of the Day, lest the heat of worldly Business burn and lay waste that Heart which was intended to glow, and to be solac'd with the Love of God. Now it is tha [...] the World is too apt to sway th [...] best, unless they habit themselve [...] to the exercise of Vigilance. Now we had need fly to our Closets for sanctuary, that we may be con­vinc'd that Man, [the meer Natu­ral Man] disquiets himself in vain▪ and searches after Fulness and Sa­tisfaction in those Honours and Possessions, which prove in the end but Wombs of Vexation of Spirit to all their deluded Courtiers. Ma­ny and mean Enjoyments may cloy, but the true, the supream Enjoy­ment only can fill an intellectual [Page 117] [...]nd voluntary Creature. Let this Consideration constantly find room in thy Thoughts, and let this make thee wise in the choice of the Sub­ [...]ect matter of thy Application to [...]he Throne of Grace. Let the [...]arnal Soul pray for Long Life [...]ere, for Wealth and Dignity [...]n this Stage of a World, and the Philosopher for Natural Know­ledge; but let a Christian pray for an Eternal Kingdom, and all those Qualifications which will secure thy Investiture in it. In the use of these Petitions, thou canst not be too earnest, or too particular; and that thou may'st pray with the greater largeness of Soul, fre­quently meditate on the Scriptures, especially on our Saviour's Sermon on the Mount, and the Parables of our Lord, with the 12th and 13th Chapters of St. Paul to the Ro­mans, and some parts of St. Peter's and St. James's, and the other Epistles [Page 118] of St. Paul, which are more useful for the Generality, tha [...] reading the Historical Scriptures i [...] order; tho' 'tis very useful in Ecclesiastical Assemblies; for every thing which becomes an Assembly▪ is not so convenient for private Persons of all Circumstances in their Closets. Many Persons have little Leisure, and perhaps less Judgment, and therefore may be the worse for too inquisitive an use of some parts of Scripture▪ and therefore their precious Time should be spent in Thoughtfulness on the plainest and most moving Scriptures, that their Souls may thrive in Grace and Divine Love. Do thou therefore daily use some of the Portions appointed by our Church for Epistles and Gospels; and before thou readest, and after thou hast read, both ponder and pray that that which was intended for a Savour of Life, may not prove [Page 119] a Savour of Death by Irreverence or Negligence. God's Spirit will be an Interpreter to those who con­sult him with Simplicity, and an ingenuous readiness of Mind to re­ceive the Truth, be it kind to their Temporal Interest or not; and when we read the Scriptures thus, we should trust firmly and boldly in God, that if we are patient and humble in the use of this Method, he will inform us clearly of all those Truths, which his infinite Wisdom knows to be convenient to be known by us, in our present Circumstances. 'Tis Men's Defi­cience more or less, in these Tem­pers and Methods of handling the Scriptures, together with their da­ring Neglect of not endeavouring to keep pace in their Lives with their Light, that causes the different Ir­regularities of their different Creeds. Wherefore, Fellow Christian, when thou usest the Prayer taken out of [Page 120] the Sermon on the Mount, take care to fix thy Mind so, that i [...] may be the Prayer of thy Spirit and the Epitome of thy Conversati­on: The Favours we request in it are the greatest we can ask, and are the Fruits of a large Thirst and an assiduous Vigilance; do not therefore only ask, but seek and knock too, that thy Soul may be seal'd with that (no counterfeit) Arrhabon, which will be a Key to the Kingdom of Heaven. Open therefore thy Soul; and if thou canst not yet perceive what it is to be poor in Spirit, and pure in Heart, the Bounty of God shall give thee this Knowledge with the Gifts themselves.

If the Clause concerning Distri­butions does not suit thy Circum­stances, thou may'st understand it of Spiritual Charity; or alter it thus: Lift up my Thoughts from the Earth, and fix my Heart upon Hea­venly Things.

4.

And now having endeavour'd to conduct thee safe thro' the Tem­ptations of the Day, let me entreat thee in the Evening to look into thy self, and to consider what Company thou hast been in; what Time has been allotted for external Religious Duties: what Time for Industry in thy Human Calling, and to exact a strict Account of the Use of the Whole Day's Time. And do not pass thy Sentence ac­cording to some external Wariness, or Unwariness, but according to the Biass of thy Mind. Outward Wariness, without the Renova­tion of the Mind, signifies nothing: Let this be truly rectify'd, and 'tis morally impossible that a Man should be guilty of any imputable Degrees of Incircumspection. Be not over rash in judging of thy self, lest thou be found at last among that Generation, who are pure in their [Page 122] own eyes, tho' they are not cleans'd from their Filthiness. There are Three sorts of unclean Men in the World: Some that are so unclean and wicked, that, tho' the Conside­ration of the state of their Souls has no dwelling in their Thoughts, yet cannot but know their own Un­cleanness; these know it, but lay it not so truly to heart, as is neces­sary for their Purification. Others there are, who labour under De­grees of voluntary Uncleanness, which cannot be consistent with a state of Salvation, even according to the gracious Covenant of the Gospel. But this is a Secret to them, because they have not exa­min'd themselves so carefully as they ought. Others again there are, who notwithstanding strict Catechizings of Conscience, are unclean in certain Degrees in the Eyes of God, but not of God-Man, of the Conscience under the [Page 123] Law, but not of Faith under the Gospel; which they know in gene­ral, and therefore ascribe Righte­ousness to their Maker, and Him only; but that cannot explain Par­ticulars; so mysteriously deep is the Corruption of our Human Na­ture! This Uncleanness would ex­clude from Heaven, were it not for Christ's Death. But now it shall not exclude those that are truly humble & industrious to be at peace with God; for such are unclean in the Creator's sight, but not in the Mediator's. All of these always were and are still unclean, but the last alone daily become less so: They are all unclean, but not in the same degree, nor alike sensible of, nor affected to it: One neither re­pents of known nor secret Impurity; the other repents of known Impurity, but knows not as much as he might, were he very diligent in search; and therefore is [Page 124] guilty of his secret Sins: But the other is not guilty of known or se­cret Uncleanness; for the known is savingly repented of, and the Secret is secret only because it can't be yet known by the Soul, altho' it searcheth daily and dili­gently. Whatever degree of Un­cleanness is not owing to obstinate Self-negligence, is wash'd away by the Blood of Jesus, if there be but a general Repentance for them. Here then is encouragement for a Soul to labour to be as clean as i [...] can; for then all secret Degrees o [...] Uncleanness will be remitted fo [...] humble Deprecation, and wholly remov'd in another World. If we are of the first sort, we have the great Work of Repentance to be­gin; and yet 'tis much more dif­ficult, after it has been begun, to be compleated: No Devotions are assign'd for them; for they, whils [...] such, will use none. If we are o [...] [Page 125] the second, we must probe our Hearts with severe Cancinations of Conscience, that we may know more of our selves, and loath and despise our selves more, as we de­serve. The First Evening Office of Repentance for deliberate Sins may clasp with their case. If we are of the Third, we are wary Christians; only let us be thankful, and be kept humble and watchful by our secret Faults, and it shall be well with us indeed.

5.

But tho' in the Embryo of Re­pentance, the Penitent may close the Day with the First Evening Of­fice, yet something more solemnly, if Life last, must be perform'd with speed; for which purpose, there is a large distinct Penitential Of­fice design'd. 'Till that is pub­lish'd, I shall content my self with this Address to the Impenitent: Why will ye trample on Opportu­nity, [Page 126] and fight with wonderful Mercy? Are ye stronger than God? Is his Hand shortned that he cannot punish, because his Compassion has hitherto been prolong'd to you? Wherefore do ye spend your Mo­ney, for that which is not Bread, and your Labour for that which satis­fies not? Encline your Ears and bow your necks to Christ, and your Souls shall live. Then there will be no need, as now, to skip from Attempt to Attempt; for the Grace of God compleated in the Soul will give satisfaction that wants no change, nor new uncer­tain Trials. O seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; forsake all your wicked Ways and unrighteous Thoughts; return unto the Lord, and he shall return unto you, for such he will abundantly pardon; for his Thoughts are not as the Thoughts of Men, nor his Ways [Page 127] as our Ways; for as the Rain comes down and the Snow from the Clouds, and returns not thi­ther, but watereth the Earth, and wakes it bud and bring forth, so that it gives Seed to the Sower, and that Bread to the Eater; so shall his Word that goes forth concern­ing a tender, contrite, lowly, hun­gry, relenting Soul; not return un­to him void, but shall accomplish that Paradise of Graces, which was intended: Instead of a Curse, and that flaming Sword of a terrible Cherub within, [an horrible Expe­ctation of Vengeance] there shall arise a prospect of an eternal King­dom: Instead of the Thorns shall the Firr-tree come forth, and in­stead of Briars the Myrtle: Where Scepticism and Infidelity, where Doubts and Darkness had tyran­niz'd before; Light and Alacrity, Faith and Hope, Charity and Puri­ty, shall banquet the Soul with Di­vine [Page 128] Refreshments. Be wise there­fore, ye thoughtless; be chang'd, ye impenitent; let the time past suf­fice every one of you to have spoke, and thought, and understood, and acted as a Child: Why will ye die, O Children of Men, and not try to become the Children of God? How is it that ye can thus sottishly be contented to hug Ruine, and to sprawl in your Blood? Or can you conceive nothing beyond this state? Nay, my Brethren, if God and a future Judgment be quite out of your Thoughts, or Damnation, tho' in your Thoughts, can't wake you, 'tis not for me to pretend to raise the Dead; you are past the help of the hands of Man, and therefore I surrender you into the hands of God, whose ways are unsearchable, and like the great Deep. He is the Lord of Possibility, and spans Eter­nity with a Glance. He of old said, Hosts of Angels exist; and [Page 129] behold they were; Let there be Light, and there was Light; and who will say, Come forth ye Dead, at the sig­nal Catastrophe of Time and Op­portunity, and they shall arise. This same God of Might, let him but say to a hardned Soul, Receive the ori­ginal Sensations of a Soul, be alive once more, as holy Angels and Saints are alive; and instead of a Temple in heaps, the Divine Spirit of the Man in less than three moments shall be rebuilt, and become a Palace fit for the Spirit to reside in, and An­gels to gaze on with wonder and delight. All this may be done, and at the last Gasp too; and perhaps has been done for a Confessor of Christ, after he was forsook by Disciples, when ridicul'd by Multi­tudes on a Cross, and before the suppos'd Imposture rose from the dead; all this, I say, may be done for the first (strictly speaking) Di­sciple of the Crucify'd Jesus, and [Page 130] may perhaps still be done for some Persons in peculiar Circumstances, foreseen only by God. But is this thy case? Is it likely to be such? Hast thou not the general Rule, This do, and live, before thee? and wilt thou presume to deferr thy Repentance presumptuously, rely­ing on a Miracle of Grace, which is not certain to thee, tho' possible to God? What God may do for any daring Sinner who may read this, I know not; but this I know and dare affirm, That, setting aside mi­raculous Changes of Soul; Abuse of Opportunity, continu'd to a dying Hour, is sowing the Wind, and will reap the Whirlwind of the everla­sting Vengeance of the Almighty.

6.

And now, true and faithful Disciples of Christ, those little ones whom Angels ho­nour, Devils envy, and a perverse Genera­tion opposes and derides, I cannot conclude till I have said, I gratulate your Souls, those Edens of God; yea, from my Heart I gra­tulate [Page 131] their Conversion, their Passage from Darkness and Bondage, to the marvellous Light and Liberty of the Sons of God: And do ye gratulate and emulate each others Vertues: Be courteous to all Men; excel your selves, and consort much together; unite your Love and Force, against united Malice, Dangers, and Temptations: Be pa­tient and watchful, if it be possible, allow­ing the Polity of Darkness no advantage by thoughtlessness, or immoderate thoughts of your selves, or contempt of others: Let no Terror, no Flattery, cause you to do that which will disturb your Peace, and grieve [...]hat great Spirit, whose select Vessels ye [...]re. Remember the Promises of God are [...]ot Yea and Nay. Quit your selves Man­ [...]ully in the Day of Battel; die Conque­ [...]ors, and enter into your Great Masters's [...]oy, when he shall come in his Fathers, and [...]he Glory of his Holy Angels.

And since he is the Author of all Re­ [...]onciliation, Affiance, Perseverance, and Plerophory in Man; since by no other Name lost Man is become capable of Salvation; since without him no De­sign can prosper, I commit you, with my self, to his Conduct, and my poor [Page 132] Endeavour to promote Souls to his Ac­ceptance and Blessing.

In him let us trust; to him with ho­ly Triumph of Soul ascribe we: O let us be glad and rejoice, and give Honour unto him, and say, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive Glory, and Honour and Power; for thou hast created a [...] things; and for thy pleasure they ar [...] and were created: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive Power, and Riches, and Wisdom, and Strength▪ and Honour, and Glory, and Blessing▪ For thou wast slain, and hast redeeme [...] us unto God, by thy Blood, out of ever [...] Kindred, and Tongue, and People, an [...] Nation.

Blessing, Honour, Glory, and Power be unto him that sitteth on the Throne and to the Lamb for ever and ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to t [...] Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is no [...] and ever shall be, World witho [...] end. Amen.

FINIS.

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