« PreviousContinue »
I know, O Lord, that thou hast commanded me, and therefore it is my duty, to love thee with all my heart, and with all my strength. I know thou art infinitely holy and overflowing in all perfections, and therefore it is my duty so to love thee.
I know thou hast created me, and that I have neither being nor blessing but what is the effect of thy power and goodness.
I know thou art the end for which I was created, and that I can expect no happiness but in thee.
I know that in love to me, being lost in sin, thou didst send thy only Son, and that he being the Lord of glory, did humble himself to the death upon the cross, that I might be raised to glory.
I know thou hast provided me with all necessary helps for carrying me through this life to that eternal glory, and this out of the excess of thy pure mercy to me, unworthy of all mercies.
I know thou hast promised to be thyself my “exceeding great reward.” Though it is thou alone who thyself “worketh in me both to will and to do, of thy good pleasure.”
Upon these and many other titles, I confess it is my duty, to love thee my God, with all my heart. Give thy strength unto thy servant, that thy love may fill my heart, and be the motive of all theuse I make of my understanding, my affections, my senses, my health, my time, and whatever other talents I have received from thee. Let this, O God, rule my heart, without a rival ; let it dispose all my thoughts, words, and works; and thus only can I fulfil my duty and thy command, of loving thce, “ with all ny heart, and mind, and soul, and strength."
Othou infinite Goodness, confirm thy past mercies to me, by enabling me, for what remains of my life, to be more faithful than 1 have hitherto been, to this thy great command. For the time I have yet to sojourn upon earth, O let me fulfil this great duty. Permit me not to be in any delusion here : let me not trust in words, or sighs, or tears, but love thee even as thou hast commanded. Let me feel, and then I shall know what it is, to love thee with all my heart.
O merciful God, whatsoever thou deniest me, deny me not this love. Save me from the idolatry of “loving the world, or any of the things of the world.” Let me never love any creature, but for thy sake, and in subordination to thy love. Take thou the full possession of my heart, raise there thy throne, and command there, as thou dost in heaven. Being created by thee, let me live to thee; being created for thee, let me ever act for thy glory; being redeemed by thee, let me render unto thee what is thine, and let my spirit ever cleave to thee alone !
Let the prayers and sacrifices of thy holy church offered unto thee this day be graciously accepted; “clothe thy Priests with righteousness, and pardon all thy people who are not prepared according to the preparations of the sanctuary.” . Prosper all who are sincerely engaged in propagating or promoting thy faith and love : (-) “Give thy Son the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost
(-) Here mention the particular persons you would pray for.
parts of the earth for his possession :” that from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, thy name may be great among the gentiles. Enable us of this nation, and especially those whom thou hast set over us in church and state, and in our several stations, to serve thee in all holiness, and to “know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.” Continue to us the means of grace, and grant we may never provoke thee by our non-improvement to deprive us of them. Pour down thy blessing upon our Universities, that they may ever promote true religion and sound learning. Show mercy, O Lord, to my father and motñer, my brothers and sisters, to all my friends, (-) relations, and enemies, and to all that are in affliction. Let thy fatherly band be over them, and thy Holy Spirit ever with them; that submitting themselves entirely to thy will, and directing all their thoughts, words, and works to thy glory, they and those that are already dead in the Lord, may at length enjoy thee, in the glories of thy kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for ever.
General Questions which a serious Christian may propose to himself,
before he begins his Evening Devotion.
1. With what degree of attention and fervour did I use my morning prayers, public or private ?
2. Have I done any thing without a present, or at least a previous perception, of its direct or remote tendency to the glory of God!
3. Did I in the morning consider, what particular virtue I was to exercise, and what business I had to do in the day!
4. Have I been zealous to undertake, and active in doing what good I could !
5. Have I interested myself any farther in the affairs of others, than charity required?
6. Have I, before I visited, or was visited, considered how I might thereby give or receive the improvement !
7. Have I mentioned any failing or fault of any man, when it was not necessary for the good of another ?
8. Have I unnecessarily grieved any one by word or deed?
9. Have I before, or in every considerable conversation or action, considered, how it might be a mean of improving in the virtue of the day?
Particular questions relating to the Love of God. 1. Have I set apart some of this day to think upon His perfections and mercies ?
2. Have I laboured to make this day, a day of heavenly rest, sacred to divine love?
3. Have I employed those parts of it in works of necessity and mercy, which were not employed in prayer, reading and meditation? O MY FATHER, my God, I am in thy hands; and may I rejoice above all things in being so : do with me what seemeth good in thy sight: only let me love thee with all my mind, soul, and strength.
I magnify thee for granting me to be born in thy church, and of religious parents ; for washing me in thy baptism, and instructing me in thy doctrine of truth and holiness, for sustaining me by thy gracious Providence, and guiding me by thy blessed Spirit; for adınitting me, with the rest of my Christian brethren, to wait on thee at thy public worship: and for so often feeding my soul with thy most precious body and blood, those pledges of love, and sure conveyance of strength and comfort. O be gracious unto all of us, whom thou hast this day or at any time admitted to thy holy table.-Strengthen our hearts in thy ways against all our temptations, and make us more than conquerors in thy love.
O iny Father, my God, deliver me, I beseech thee, from all violent passions: I know how greatly obstructive these are both of the knowledge and love of thee; 0 let none of them find a way into my heart ; but let me ever possess my soul in meekness. O my God, I desire to fear them more than death; let me not save those cruel tyrants; but do thou reign in my breast; let me ever be thy servant, and love thee with all my heart.
Deliver me, O God, from the love of company and diversions; I know these are so many pleasing snares which continually solicit me to pursue them for their own sakes, and not in order to thy glory. O give me that true wisdom, that using them only because they are necessary for my present weakness, I may thankfully use them so far as they are necessary thereto and no farther. Let me never be enslaved to their false charms, but let my whole heart be reserved for thee.
Deliver me, O God, from too intense an application to even necessary business : I know how this dissipates my thoughts from the one end of all my business, and impairs that lively perception I would ever retain of thee standing at my right hand. I know the narrowness of my heart, and that an eager attention to earthly things leaves it no room for the things of heaven. O teach me to go through all my employments with so truly disengaged a heart, that I may still see thee in all things, and see thee therein as continually looking upon me, and searching my reins, and that I may never impair that liberty of spirit, which is necessary for the love of thee.
Deliver me, O God, from a slothful mind, from all lukewarmness, and all dejection of spirit : I know these cannot but deaden my love to thee; mercifully free my heart from them, and give me a lively, zealous, active, and cheerful spirit, that I may vigorously perform whatever thou commandest, thankfully suffer whatever thou choosest for me, and be ever ardent to obey in all things thy holy love.
Deliver me, O God, from all idolatrous love of any creature. I know infinite numbers have been lost to thee, by loving those creatures for their own sake, which thou permittest, nay, even commandest to love subordinately to thee. Preserve me, I beseech.
thee, from all such blind affection : be thou a guard to all my desires, that they fix on no creature any farther than the love of it tends to build me up in the love of thee. Thou requirest me to love thee with all my heart: undertake for me, I beseech thee, and be thou my security, that I may never open my heart to any thing but out of love to thee.
Above all, deliver me, O my God, from all idolatrous self-love. I know, O God, (blessed be thy infinite mercy for giving me this knowledge,) that this is the root of all evil: I know thou madest me, not to do my own will but thine : I know the very corruption of the Devil is, the having a will contrary to thine. O be thou my helper against this most dangerous of all idols, that I may both discern all its subtleties, and withstand all its force. O thou who hast commanded me to renounce myself, give me strength, and I will obey thy command. My choice and desire is, to love myself, and all other creatures in and for thee. O let thy almighty arm so establish, strengthen, and settle me, that thou mayest ever be the ground and pillar of all my love.
By this love of thee, my God, may my soul be fixed against its natural inconstancy : by this may it be reduced to an entire indifference as to all things else, and simply desire what is pleasing in thy sight. May this holy frame ever warm my breast, that I may serve thee with all my might; and let it consume in my heart all selfish desires, that I may in all things regard not myself, but thee.
O my God, let thy glorious name be duly honoured and loved by all the creatures which thou hast made. Let thy infinite goodness and greatness be ever adored by all angels and men. May thy church, the catholic seminary of divine love, be protected from all the powers of darkness. O vouchsafe to all, who call themselves by thy name, one short glimpse of thy goodness. May they once taste and see how gracious thou art, that all things else may be tasteless to them; that their desires may be always flying up towards thee, that they may render thee, love, and praise, and obedience pure and cheerful, constant and zealous, universal and uniform, like that which the holy angels render thee in heaven.
Send forth thy blessed Spirit into the midst of these sinful nations, and make us a holy people : stir up the heart of our Sovereign, of the Royal Family, of the Clergy, the Nobility, and of all whom thou hast set over us, that they may be happy instruments in thy hand, of promoting this good work: be gracious to the Universities, to the Gentry and Commons of this land, and comfort all that are in affliction; let the trial of their faith work patience in them, and perfect them in hope and love. (-)
Bless my father, &c. my friends and relations, and all that belong to this family: all that have been instrumental to my good, by their assistance, advice, example, or writing, and all who do not pray for themselves.
Change the hearts of mine enemies, and give me grace to forgive them, even as thou for Christ's sake forgivest us.
O “thou Shepherd of Israel,” vouchsafe to receive me this night and ever into thy protection : accept my poor services, and pardon the sinfulness of these and all my holy duties. O let it be thy good pleasure shortly to put a period to sin and misery, to infirmity and death, to complete the number of thine elect, and to hasten thy kingdom: that we, and all that wait for thy salvation, may eternally love and praise thee, O God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, throughout all ages, world without end.
Our Father, &c.
General Questions, which may be used every Morning
Did I think of God first and last?
Have I examined myself how I behaved since last night's retirement?
Am I resolved to do all the good I can this day, and to be diligent in the business of my calling ?
O GOD, who art the giver of all good gifts, I thy unworthy servant entirely desire to praise thy name, for all the expressions of thy bounty towards me.
Blessed be thy love for giving thy Son to die for our sins, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. Blessed be thy love for all the temporal benefits which thou hast with a liberal hand poured out upon me; for my health and strength, food and raiment, and all other necessaries with which thou hast provided thy sinful servant. I also bless thee that, after all my refusals of thy grace, thou still hast patience with me, hast preserved me this night (-) and given me yet another day, to renew and perfect my repentance. Pardon, good Lord, all my former sins, and make me every day more zealous and diligent to improve every opportunity of building up my soul in thy faith, and love, and obedience : make thyself always present to my mind, and let thy love fill and rule my soul, in all those places, and companies, and employments, to which thou callest me this day. In all my passage through this world, suffer not my heart to be set upon it; but always fix my single eye, and my undivided affections on “the prize of my high calling !" This one thing let me do; let me so press toward this, as to make all things else minister unto it; and be careful so to use them, as thereby to fit my soul for that pure bliss, which thou hast prepared for those that love thee !
O thou, who art good and doest good, who extendest thy lovingkindness to all mankind, the work of thine hands, thine image, capable of knowing and loving thee eternally: suffer me to exclude
-) Here you may mention any particular mercy received.