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with an undaunted courage and resolution to bear up under all the trials and difficulties, which I shall meet with in my Christian warfare. Let my retirement from the world make me see the vanity and emptiness of it, and teach me to relish the pleasures of spiritual enjoyments; let me spend my solitary hours in the improvement of Christian knowledge, and do thou open my eyes, that I may see the wondrous things of thy law. Make me heartily to bewail my sins, and do thou work in me that godly sorrow not to be repented of; that so I may manifest the sincerity of my love by a constant and habitual care to do what is pleasing in thy sight.
O Lord, search my reins and my heart, prove me and examine my thoughts, grant that I may sincerely examine the state of my own mind; that perceiving how bitter a thing it is to depart from the living God, I may no longer continue at a distance from the fountain of all joy and happiness; but be so truly honest and upright, and so steadfast and immovable in the way of truth and justice, that no worldly interest or advantage, how promising or great soever, may be able to shake my integrity. And give me grace, by confessing and forsaking my sins, to be entirely converted unto thee, and to depend upon thy providence, so as to rest contented under all the dispensations of thy infinite wisdom and goodness. And though thou should see fit
to deprive me of any, or even all the comforts of this life, yet,
O gracious Father, leave me not destitute of those things that accompany salvation, nor deny me thy favour, which is better than life itself. Whatever thou art pleased to deprive me of, yet take not from me, I beseech thee, the comforts of thy Holy Spirit; but in all the troubles and disappointments of this world, in all the calamities and trials I shall meet with here, be thou my only refuge and my support, my stay and my trust, my Saviour and mighty deliverer.
Stand by me in all trials, succour me in every temptation, support me in discouragements, and advise me in all difficult cases; but especially, O Lord, I most importunely beseech thee, that when the time of my dissolution draws nigh, and things here begin to fail me, thou wouldest then vouchsafe to strengthen and support me, and at last receive me into thy blessed kingdom. And till that time draweth nigh,
Let thy great goodness, O Lord, continue to me thy favour and protection; let thy watchful providence be my guard and defence. Keep me in fear all the day long; and grant that I may take nothing in hand, but what is agreeable to thy blessed will. Into thy hands I commend my soul and body, and all that are related to me, humbly beseeching thee to keep us from all evil, to lead us into all good,
and to carry us safely through the dangers and temptations of this wicked world, to that place of everlasting rest and peace, which thou hast prepared for thy faithful servants, through the merits of thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; in whose words, as he himself hath taught us, I call upon thee saying, Our Father, &c.
THE MEDITATION FOR SATURDAY EVENING.
On presumptuous thoughts.
I hate vain thoughts, but thy law do I love. Psal. cxix. 113.
OMY soul! how hast thou struck me, how am I dismayed at those checks of thy voice! the enemy had almost filled me with presumptuous thoughts of my own merits; I was mighty well satisfied, full of joy and holy consolation, assured of God's favour, the forgiveness of my sins, and everlasting happiness, since my return from the Holy Sacrament, and our continued pious exercise for this week past: But,
2. Thou art desponding, and fillest my ears with it may be not: one may, sayest
thou, be in God's favour without knowing or believing it; and one may be (in the purpose of God) everlastingly happy in the world to come, and yet be miserable and desponding here on earth. So we may be forsaken, and full of presumptuous consolations: And,
3. Now, I remember, we have already spoken of, and agreed in, these things before, and I am fully satisfied, that if we truly repent us of our sins, they shall certainly be forgiven; and we shall certainly be happy, but that is in the world to come; so that I shall always think upon that excellent admonition, never to credit any inward comfort and consolation, so much as to suffer them to puff me up any more that my sins are forgiven, at such a certain time, at or after, the receiving the Sacrament; for, that is not quite so sure. You have made me sensible that no such joy or consolation is annexed, by any promise of God, to the worthy reception of the blessed Sacrament; I believe that the benefits are secured by God's promise to the worthy receiver, from whence that joy may reasonably result; but the party may, by some indisposition of body or mind, not be filled with it. And,
4. Therefore, I will not expect or depend upon any such unusual lightsomeness or consolations; but, if they follow, it is well; if
* See the first part of the New Week's Preparation.
not, there is no harm or danger in the want of them. I will prepare myself by true and sincere repentance, and come with faith, and as well-disposed as I can, and leave the rest to God. Herein I shall have the satisfaction of having done my duty in the best manner I could, and with that I must be content; for the rest, I see, is not in my power.
5. I will not be disconsolate upon this occasion, by being disappointed of such expectations as my own warm imagination only may raise in me, without any reason or promise made on God's part. Though I should henceforward come away cold and little affected from the Sacrament, when I might expect my heart must have been filled with devout transports, I will not be concerned, nor believe I had not prepared myself as I ought to have done; when thou, my soul, upon examining my heart, canst not justly charge me with any considerable omissions or negligence in that work.
6. Therefore I will not be discouraged, if I find not that content and pleasure after our coming from the Sacrament, which I might hope and wish for before; but I will go on steadily in the ways of virtue, and do our Christian duties constantly; and whether I feel the sensible warmth, and comforts of religion or no, yet I shall be sure never to want at length the just rewards of it: for those depend upon uncertainties, these upon God's