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and I humbly beseech thee, for his fake, to give me grace to continue in the same unto my life's end.
Oh! that I could say I had made returns to thee, my God, in any measure suitable to the benefits which I have received from thee, But, alas ! I must with shame acknowledge, that I have been guilty of great ingratitude towards thee, the fountain of all good; I have been an unprofitable and unworthy fervant, and have neither loved, ferved, or obeyed thee, as I ought to have done ; therefore it is owing to thy infinite goodness, that I have now an opportunity of humbling myself before thee.
O let thy goodness and forbearance lead me, O Lord, to a true and unfeigned repentance of all my sins; and for the fake of thy belove ed Son, (in whom alone thou art well pleal. ed)* spare me, O Lord, spare me, and be not angry with me for ever; wash away all my fins, in that fountain, which thou haft opened for sin and uncleanness, that nothing may interpose between thy mercy and my poor soul. Lay not to my charge, O most merciful God! the sins which I have this day committed; and not only pardon them, but give me grace from henceforward entirely to leave and fore' fake them, and to amend my life according to thy holy word.+
Make * Matt. iij. 17. + Píalm cxix. 9.
Make me always mindful that thou art every where present, and privy to my most secret thoughts ; that I may never dare to do any thing but what is pleasing in thy sight.
Posless me, O Lord, with a lively sense of that frailty of my life, the certainly of a judgment to come, the unspeakable glories of Heaven, and the most dreadful torments of Hell; that I may in good earnest fet about the great work of my falvation, and never be so foolish as to prefer the pleasures of Sin, which are but for a season, before that everlasting fulness of joy,* which is in thy presence for evermore ? but that duly considering the vast disproportion there is betwixt this life and my eternal state, I may live as becomes the Gospel of Christ, working out my salvation with the greatest care and circumspection ; that when the great and terrible day of the Lord shall come, I may be admitted to the inheritance of the Saints in light, through the merits and for the sake of my blessed Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Chrift, in whose blessed name I entreat thee to accept, O Lord, this evening sacrifice of my unfeigned praises, which I now offer up to thy divine majesty, for thy great and manifold mercies vouchsafed unto me; and more particularly for the mercies of the day past; for preserve
ing * Psalm xvi, as,
ing me in health and safety, for providing so plentifully for me, and continuing to me the enjoyment of fo many comforts. And, . I most humbly beseech thee to continue thy mercy and goodness towards me, and all that belong to me. Defend us this night from all dangers both of foul and body; grant us quiet and refreshing seep : and if thou art pleased to add another day to our lives, give us grace to employ it in such a manner, as may be well, pleasing in thy sight ; through the merits and for the sake of thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who has taught us when we pray to say, Our Father, &c.
The Meditation on Thursday Morning.. Being the second part of the Meditation upon
a firm purpose of amendment, and a new
life. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.
Ja nes iv. 8. I. O NCE more the goodness of God, O
my soul ! hast brought us to the beginning of another day. Let us then shew our thankfulness by continuing those holy resolutions which we made before we laid down to reft. I say, those : resolutions I have ofteri made before, and have as often, I fear, broke through ; which if I should be so wicked as to violate hereafter, what must I do then ? must we go no more to that holy table? yes, we must still repent and be converted, and we shall be again accepted. For this Sacrament of the Lord's Supper doth not require perfect obedience in all our addresses to the holy altar ; or, that none 'must come but such as are in a sinless state of perfection ; because there is no man that liveth and sinneth not : for, who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin ? and therefore whatever persuadeth us to neglect or absent from this our duty is of the Devil. For the facrament of the Lord's Supper is not a converting, but a confirming, ordinance, intended to preserve and increase that fpiritual life and grace, which we received at our Baptism : so that when we come to the holy Communion, we come thither for fresh supplies of grace and goodness, for the strengthening and refreshing our fouls in all holiness and virtue : and,
II. They that are taught of God, know that our fouls, by this facrament, are fortified and strengthened with grace, wisdom, courage, and all other spiritual gifts, to keep us through faith unto salvation.
III. Both the comfort and benefit of it are great; the comfort of it, because it does not
only cos represear to us the exceediag love of our S27.jar, ia giriag his body to be broken, and his biood to be thei for us ; but likewise leals to us ail those bie:Diags and benefits, which are purchaied and procared for us by his death and pation, viz. the pardon of sin, and pow. er against it. The benefit of frequent Com. macion is also of as great ads antage; because hereby we are confirmed in all grace and good. neis ; our resolution to live in obedience and conformity to God's laws are strengthened; and the grace of God's Holy Spirit, to do his wiil, is hereby conveyed to us : it is the sovereiga remedy agaioit all temptations, by mortirping our pations, and by spiritualizing our affectioas : in a word, it is the likeliet method to make the body the temple of the Holy Ghoft, and to prepare the soul for the enjoyment of God to all eternity. And therefore,
IV. Although if at any time, through ignorance, surprise, or the violence of any other temptation, we should fall into those very fins, which we have repented of and vowed against, when we were lait at the sacrament, yet these relapses should not make us afraid of coming again, since we have always the bene fit of repentance allowed to us : if after a relapse we repeat and renew our resolutions with a hearty grief and contrition of spirit, we are made whole as before.