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THE peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep my heart and mind in the knowledge and love of God, and of his son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be with me now, and at the hour of my death. Amen.
On Monday night, (and the rest of the week,) at going to bed, say,
WILL lay me down in peace, and take my rest, for it is thou, O Lord, only, that makest me to dwell in safety.
Into thy hands I commend my spirit, for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, thou God of truth.
Have mercy upon me, O Lord, now, and at the hour of death. Amen, Amen, Amen.
THE MEDITATION FOR TUESDAY MORNING.
Upon God's Mercy and Christ's Incarnation, to prepare us for a worthy receiving of the Holy Sacrament.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John iii. 16.
1. DRAW near, all ye that fear our Lord, and I will tell you what he has done my soul; hear, and I will tell you what he hath done for your's, and the wonders of his bounty towards all the world. When we lay asleep in the shades of nothing, his almighty hand awakened us into being; not to that of stones, or plants, or beasts, over which he has made us absolute lords; but to a body wonderfully made, and an immortal soul, little inferior to his glorious angels; he printed on our souls his own similitude, and promised to our obedience a share in his own felicity; he endued us with appetites to live well and happy, and furnished us with means to satisfy those appetites; creating a whole world to serve us here, and providing a heaven to glorify us hereafter.
* Here you may observe the directions given on page 3.
2. These are the favours of God's infinite goodness: but what return have we made to him? blush, O my soul, for shame, at so strange a weakness, and weep for grief at so extreme an ingratitude. We childishly preferred a trivial apple before the law of our God, and the safety of our souls: we fondly embraced a little needless satisfaction, before the pleasures of paradise, and the eternity of heaven.
3. Behold the unhappy source of all our miseries, which still increased its streams as they went further on, till they exacted at last a deluge of justice, to drown their deluge of iniquity; and here, alas! had been an end of man, a sad and fatal end of the whole world, had not our wise Creator foreseen the danger, and in mercy prevented the extremity of the ruin, reserving for himself a few choice plants to replenish the earth with more hopeful fruit; yet they grew quickly wild, and brought forth sour grapes, and their children's teeth were set on edge; quickly they aspired to an intolerable pride of fortifying their wickedness against the power of heaven, by building the Tower of Babel.
4. This rebellion provoked justice to a second deluge, and to bring again a cloud over the earth; but mercy discovered a bow in the cloud, and our faithful God remem
bered his promise, allaying their punishment with a milder sentence, and only scattered them from the place of their conspiracy; which yet his providence turned into a bless ing, by making it an occasion of peopling the world. Still their rebellious nature disobeyed again, and neither feared his judg ments, nor valued his mercies; but with a graceless emulation propagated sin, as far as his goodness propagated mankind. Then he selected a private family, and increased and governed them with a particular tenderness, giving them a law by the hands of angels, and engaged their obedience by a thousand favours; but they likewise neglected their God and heaven, and fell in love with the ways of death.
5. When thou hadst thus, O merciful Lord, used many remedies, and our disease was beyond their power to cure; when the light of nature proved too weak a guide, and the general flood too mild a correction; when the miracles of Moses could not soften their hearts, nor the law of angels bring any to perfection; when the whole was reduced to this desperate state, and no imaginable hope left to recover us; behold! thy eternal wisdom finds an amazing expedient, the last and the highest instance of almighty love; he resolves to clothe himself with our flesh, and come down amongst us, and die to re
deem us, and has left us the blessed sacrament of his body and blood for a perpetual remembrance of the same.
6. Wonder, O my soul, at the mercies of the Lord! how infinitely do they transcend even our utmost wishes; wonder at the admirable providence of his counsels, that are exactly fitted to their great design! had our Saviour been less than God, we could never have believed the sublime mysteries of his heavenly doctrine: had he been other than man, we must needs have wanted the powerful motive of his holy example. Had he been only God, he could never have suffered the least of those afflictions he so gloriously overcame; had he been merely man, he could never have overcome those infinite afflictions he so patiently endured. In thee, O blessed Saviour, the two natures of God and man were so mysteriously united, without either change or confusion, that they made in thee but one person, one mediator, one Lord.