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O the gashes and deep wounds of his shoulders and back, opened all with stripes! O the wide rendings of his hands and feet! his empty veins, his stretched-out sinews! his rankled flesh, how flaggy with stripes, how begored with blood! his hair clotted, and his whole body out of order! and all this for sinners, for his enemies, for lost ungrateful man; even for us, O my soul!
2. Come, O my soul, and compare thy love for Jesus with that he has shown for thee, and all mankind. O! confess thy remissness and thy sin. Say, Oblessed Jesu! I adore thy love, and acknowledge my transgressions for love brought thee down from heaven to us: but how few of us doth it carry up thither unto thee! Love made thee die the most shameful death; but it doth not make us live the most glorious life. Love made thee endure the sorest pains; but, alas! it doth not make mankind take the pleasure of following thy steps to the greatest happiness. Love made thee think perpetually on such poor wretches as we are; but we seldom think upon thee. Love suaded thee to come to us when there was nothing to call thee, except only our great miseries; but it doth not bring us all to thee, though we are moved by the merits and precious promises of so immense a love.
3. Let not our devotion rest in bare acknowledgments; do not only praise his
goodness, but dread his majesty, and let us show our love by our deeds; to him let us reverently go, and offer our devout hearts at his footstool; let us remember every passage of his love with unfeigned thanks. For, the Lord is sold, that the slave may be free; the innocent is condemned, that the guilty may be saved; the physician is sick, that the patient may be cured; and God himself becomes man to die, that man may live.
4. Tell me, my soul, when first thou hast well considered and looked about among all we know, tell me who ever wished us so much good? Who ever loved us with so much tenderness? Our nearest friends, what have they done for us; or even our parents, in comparison of this charity? No less than the Son of God came down to redeem us; no less than his own dear life was the price he paid for us! What can the favour of the whole world promise us, compared to this miraculous bounty? No less than the joys of angels are become our hope; no less than the kingdom of heaven is made our inheritance.
5. This is the compassion of my God! thus far his charity prevailed; who thought it was not enough to become man for us, but exposed himself to all our miseries! Was it not enough, O Jesu! to labour all thy life, but thou must suffer for us even the pains of death? No, gracious Lord, thy
mercy still observeth many wants in our nature as yet unsupplied; thou sawest our too much fondness of life needed thy parting with it, to reconcile us to death; thou sawest our fear of sufferings could no way be abated but by freely undergoing them in thine own person: thou sawest our souls so deeply stained with guilt, that without shedding thy blood we could have no remission.
6. Can we thus remember the labours of our Redeemer for us, and not be convinced of our duty to him? Can my cold heart recount his sufferings, and not be inflamed with the love of him that suffered for me? Can I believe my salvation cost him so dear, and live as if to be saved were not worth my pains? Ungrateful man, how doth he slight the goodness of our God! How carelessly comply with his gracious designs! For all his gifts he requires no other return, than that we hope still more, and desire still greater blessings, and improve them all to our own happiness for all his favours he seeks no other praise, than our following his steps till we mount up to his glory.
7. O my adored Redeemer, behold, to thee I bow, and humbly prostrate myself in honour of thy death: behold, thus low. I bow to implore thy blessing, and the assistance of thy special grace, that I may wean my affections from all vain desires, and cleasen
my thoughts from all impertinent fancies: that my life may be entirely dedicated to thee, and all the faculties of my soul to thy holy service: that my mind may continually study the knowledge of thee, and my will grow every day stronger in thy love, and my memory faithfully recount thy mercies, and both tongue and heart be continually disposed and habitually employed to praise thee; to praise thy incomparable love, which has done and suffered so much for lost mankind.
Here also observe the directions given on page 8: and more particularly endeavour to improve your soul by reading a lesson out of the NEW WHOLE DUTY OF MAN, Sunday 4, Section I. &c.
A prayer on Friday evening for faith and repentance, and a due preparation for the Holy Sacrament.
Repent and believe the gospel. Mark i. 5.
GRACIOUS God, and most kind and merciful Father, who, of thy tender love to mankind, didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there, by his own oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world;
grant that the effects of this redemption may be as universal as the design of it, that it may be to the salvation of all: O let no person by impenitence and wilful sin forfeit his part in it, but by the power of thy grace bring all, even the most obstinate sinners, to repentance.
More especially, I beseech thee, to give me, thy sinful creature, a right understanding of the urgent need I have of a Saviour, and of all those things which thy Son hath done and suffered, and is still doing at thy right hand, in order to the cleansing of my guilty and polluted nature, and the restoring me to thy grace and favour: and let not all this be in vain, and useless to me, lest I become eternally miserable, and lost to all hopes and possibilities of comfort; give me grace to accept of, and embrace the tenders of thy love, and to comply with those gracious terms of salvation, which thy Son hath procured for, and proposed to me in the gospel.
I acknowledge, O Lord, that I have too much neglected this great salvation, but thou, with infinite patience, dost still wait to see if I will accept of mercy! O that thy forbearance and long-suffering may soften my heart, and melt me into shame and tears of penitential sorrow, for having so long abused the tender mercy of so good a God. I desire now to resign and give up myself to the con