Page images

tures to excellent purposes, and delightest to bring good out of evil. Behold, O God, we are thy servants and thy creatures, do to us as seemeth good in thine eyes; only give us patience and a long-suffering spirit, that we may not murmur secretly, when we complain openly; that we may not make haste in the day of our calamity, but with a quiet spirit expect and wait for the time of our redemption. But make no long tarrying, O Lord, make haste to help us, O God of our salvation; and be pleased to give us a light from heaven, that, with the eye of faith, we may see beyond the cloud, and look for those comforts which thou didst prepare for thy servants that love thee, and put their trust in thee, and have laid up all their hopes in the bosom of God.


An Act of Hope.

O God, our God, thou hast said unto us, 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you;' thou hast often eased our calamities, and taken off thy severe hand, thou hast promised to be with us in time of need, thou delightest to deliver them whose confidence is in thy goodness. Thou hast supported our spirits in the day of our sorrow, and hast given us many intervals, and spaces of refreshment, and renewest thy lovingkindness day by day: O let us never have our portion amongst the hopeless and desperate. Let us always pray to thee, and hope in thee, and in every period of our affliction let us do some actions of virtue, by which we may please thee, and be accepted so long as we can pray. Thou hast commanded us to hope; and we do hope, that these comforts shall refresh our souls, that thy mercies will support us under our afflictions, that thy Spirit shall comfort us in it, and thy grace and thy glorious providence shall speedily deliver us from it. Amen, blessed Jesus, Amen.


The Petition.

And now, O most merciful Father, give thy servants admittance to present our complaint before the throne of grace, and let our petition enter into thy presence: thy arrows stick fast in us, and thy hand presseth us sore: open thy heart,


the treasure and spring of mercy, and thence let comforts and refreshments descend upon thy servants. Put a blessed period to our sorrows, but first put a stop to our sins; let us not sin against thee, when for sin thou art smiting us; let us never charge thee foolishly, nor behave ourselves peevishly towards others, but use all the means we can to ease their sorrows, to lighten their burdens, to sweeten their lives, that so we may expect from thy goodness a more plentiful and abundant measure of loving-kindness.


O Lord, put a bar and stop unto our passions; make them to be humble ministers of religion and prudent government, but never let us suffer any violent transportations in ourselves, never be provoked to any bitterness, never to be harsh or cruel towards any, never to speak any thing peevishly and undecently, never to put too much upon any temporal interest; in all things let us behold thy providence, and reverence thy justice, and adore thy majesty, and feel thy mercy, and obey thy Spirit; and if thou shalt still persevere to smite us, and to try thy servants, let not thy punishing us ever cause us to sin against thee. Let not our own follies be our scourges, lest we sin against thee, and lose thy blessing for ever.


Be pleased, O God, to add this favour unto thy servants, that our trouble may not be doubled or increase by our own infirmities: take from us all troublesome fancies and too quick apprehensions of our sorrows; blessed be thy name, they are finite, and they are temporal sorrows, they are less than our sins, and they are less than thy mercies. Give us grace to despise the world, and all its interests and possessions, that while we set not our affections upon them, we may not be too much afflicted, when we are crossed in them; but let our great care be to please thee, our greatest fears lest we should sin against thee. Let our duty be our employment, thy providence our portion, thy Spirit our guide, thy law our rule; that when this cloud is passed over, we may see the brightness of thy face, and perpetual showers of grace and mercy, refreshing our sad and weary spirits: so shall thy servants sing praises to the honour of thy name,

when thou shalt have saved our souls from death, our eyes from tears, and our feet from falling: grant these mercies, O blessed God, and Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our dearest Lord and Saviour. Amen.

A private Prayer to be said by or for a Person (mutatis mutandis) apt to be afflicted with Fear of Death or God's Anger, and the uncertain State of his or her Soul.

O eternal God, most gracious Father, in much mercy and compassion behold me thy seryant laden with my sins, encompassed with infirmity, assaulted by enemies without, and apt to be betrayed by my own weaknesses within. If I am cheerful, I am apt to be careless of my duty; if I am sad, I àm timorous and unsafe, too ready to distrust thee, and to sink under the burden of those calamities, which by my sinsI have deserved. O God, I confess, with sorrow and shame, that I resolve often to give myself entirely to thy service, but I am so perpetually beaten with the violent tempests and storms of passion, that all my hopes and all my fears grow unactive and useless, and are overcome by them, and sink under my own evil customs and infirmities, lust, pride, ambition, anger, and under this state of infelicity I groan and labour, and to thee I humbly make my complaint; for thou art my hope and my strength, my rock and my might, my Saviour and defender, my support and my deliverer. O hear the saddest cries of thy humble and afflicted servant, and give me ease from my greatest sorrows: give me a cheerful heart, and a severe spirit; a love of thy mercies, and a trembling at thy judgments; an infinite desire to please thee, and a great fear to offend thee; and though I humbly desire of thy glorious goodness, to secure and promote my eternal interest by what instruments thou pleasest, yet because thou art my Father and my merciful God, I beg of thy infinite goodness to take care of my infirmities, and to pity my weaknesses; and make my religion to be to me the pleasantest thing in the world; that nothing may tempt me from thee, and prevail in the days of my weaknesses and disadvantage.



O blessed God, be pleased to give me a perfect repentance for all my sins; and admit me to a full pardon; and not

[ocr errors]

only so, but, if it be thy gracious will, consign this my pardon by some testimony from heaven, by a holy and an humble hope, by a strong faith, and a cheerful spirit, by joy in God, and a command over my passions, by meekness and charity, by forgiving every one that troubles me, and every one that offends me. O God, my God, give to thy servant an excellent religion, and a devout spirit, and grant that I may take great pleasure in the service of God, in obedience to my spiritual superiors, in doing the works of that duty to which thou hast called me in my present state of life; and never suffer me to fall into a despairing or an amazed conscience, into the evils of a tedious or impatient, a wounded or an afflicted spirit: but grant that rejoicing in thee evermore and delighting in doing my duty, in mortifying my passions, in loving and serving my dearest relations, I may be preserved in thy fear and thy favour, and nothing may be able to separate me from the love of God, in Christ Jesus. Amen.


O my dearest Saviour, take from thy servant all inordinate fear of death, and give me a great desire after heaven, and heavenly things: and when thou shalt call me from this world, conduct me by the graces and comforts of thy holy Spirit evenly and holily, certainly and cheerfully, to the regions of hope and joy, that in thy arms I may expect and long for the day of recompenses and of thy glorious appearing. O God, hear the prayer and most passionate desires of thy servant and since thou hast commanded us in the time of need to come with boldness to the throne of grace, grant that I may be accepted by thy mercies and loving-kindness, through the merits and intercession of my Lord, in whom I desire to live, and for whom I will not refuse to die,-our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus; to whom with thee, O blessed Father and most Holy Spirit, I humbly give all honour and thanks, and glory, and love, and service; and desire to do so for ever.. Amen.

The Preface to the following Office.

SINCE it hath pleased God to hear our prayers, and to give us the blessing we now feel and rejoice in, the blessing of peace, health, plenty, victory, &c. let us faithfully and devoutly give thanks unto God for his great benefit and grace; and say,

Psalms Eucharistical, or of Thanksgiving, upon special Times of Festivity, to be added to any of the foregoing Offices; or to be said distinctively.


After a plentiful Harvest.

Our Father, which art in heaven, &c.

O be joyful in God, all ye lands: sing praises unto the honour of his name, make his praise to be glorious.

O come hither and behold the works of God: how wonderful he is in his doing toward the children of men.

Thou visitest the earth, and blessest it: thou makest it very plenteous.

Thou waterest her furrows, thou sendest rain into the little valleys thereof: thou makest it soft with the drops of rain, and blessest the increase of it.

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness: and thy clouds drop fatness.

They shall drop upon the dwellings of the wilderness: and the little hills shall rejoice on every side.

The folds shall be full of sheep: the valleys also shall stand so thick with corn, that they shall laugh and sing.

Praised be God, which hath not cast out our prayer: nor turned his mercy from us.

Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter rain in his season.

He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Lord, what is man, that thou hast respect unto him! or the son of man, that thou so regardest him!

The eyes of all wait upon thee, O Lord: and thou givest them their meat in due season.

Thou openest thy hand: and fillest all things living with plenteousness.

« PreviousContinue »