« EelmineJätka »
Do but consider how you would behave yourself if you were but half so much obliged to any man on earth. How dearly would you love him! How often would you think of him! How would you strive to please him! How would you be grieved if you should be so unhappy as to offend him! How soon and how earnestly would you beg his pardon to be restored to his favour!
Now if you thus love God it will appear in such instances as these: you will have a very great regard for everything that belongs to Him; you will not use His name to any idle or wicked purpose; you will religiously observe the day consecrated to His honour and service; you will carefully attend the house and worship of God; and behave yourself with reverence and devotion while you are in His presence. You will hear His Word with attention, and have a great regard for His ordinances, and for the persons whom He hath appointed to administer them.
If you truly fear God you will part with anything as dear as a right hand, or a right eye, rather than provoke Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
If you believe Him to be the fountain of all good, you will pray to Him daily. And if you put your whole trust in God, as it is your duty to do, you will endeavour to be pleased with all His dealings with you, you will never murmur at the ways of His providence, nor suffer your heart to fret against the Lord. And especially you will never attempt to better or secure your condition by any evil ways, believing assuredly that God can and will make you full amends in the next life for what you want or suffer in this in submission to His will.
Lastly, your duty is to be thankful to God. The way to be so is to look upon every mercy you receive as the gift of God; every danger you escape as owing to His care and providence ; every good thought, every good purpose, every occasion of doing good as the effect of His good Spirit.
Think, and act, and purpose thus; and it will be as natural to thank God for all the dispensations of His providence as it is for you to beg any blessing from Him which you stand most in need of.
Stop a while until you have considered these things, and until you have expressed your sense of them in this following prayer:
The Prayer. TH
HIS is indeed the first and great command, to love
Thee, O God, with all our heart; for on this depends our salvation. But even this must be the gift of Thy grace; for this grace I now apply to Thee, 'to make my love and fear of Thee the governing principle of my whole life; that I may always do what I believe will please Thee; that I may carefully avoid what I know will offend Thee; and that I may live as having Thee the constant witness of my thoughts, words, and actions.
Give me a steadfast faith in Thy Word and promises, a firm trust in Thy power. Let the fear of Thy justice keep me from presumption, and a sense of Thy goodness from despair. Defend me from all those bewitching snares which destroy our love of Thee, from worldly cares, from all sensual and sinful pleasures, from evil company, from foolish diversions, and from everything that may make me forget that Thou alone art worthy to be feared and loved. Grant me these mercies for Thy Son Jesus Christ His sake, whose love and death we are going to commemorate. Amen.
YOUR DUTY TO YOUR NEIGHBOUR AND YOURSELF.
the most solemn resolutions you can make before you go to the Lord's Supper.
Consider, therefore, whether you can sincerely resolve as follows:
I dare not, I will not be indifferent how I lead my life. I know what God has commanded me, and I purpose sincerely to do it.
I will, in the first place, be obedient to the lawful commands of my superiors, and especially to those who watch for my soul. I do sincerely purpose in all my dealings to remember the command given me by my Saviour, THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF; and therefore I will make a conscience of doing the least wrong to any man; of using any deceit, or fraud, or oppression; or of taking advantage of the ignorance, mistakes, or necessity of my neighbour, knowing assuredly that he who wrongs his neighbour does the greatest injury to himself. And if at any time I am convinced that I have done him any wrong, I will make him satisfaction as far as I am able, without being forced by law to do unto others what I would they should do unto me.
To this end I will endeavour to live peaceably and charitably with all people, avoiding all malice and revenge, and evil-speaking and contention, as much as possibly I can. And I will speak the truth at all times,
and especially when I am called to my oath, whether it be for or against my worldly interest.
AS TO THE DUTY I OWE TO MYSELF-I am convinced that my first and great concern ought to be to take care of my own soul.
I do, therefore, stedfastly purpose to lead a serious life, as one under the sentence of death ought to do; to be sober, temperate, and chaste; that when I die I may be admitted into the paradise of God, where no unclean thing must enter.
To this end I resolve to keep a watch over myself, that I may avoid all such company, such pleasures and diversions, as may make me lose the remembrance of death and the account I must give. I will endeavour to be content with my condition, not coveting what is another man's, neither envying the prosperity, nor taking pleasure in the calamities, of my neighbour.
And forasmuch as a life of idleness and luxury is hateful to God, I will strive to do my duty in the state of life in which His providence has placed me; not flattering myself that I do no evil when I do no good in my generation, lest the sentence upon the unfruitsul tree be passed upon me: Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
These duties I will endeavour to perform as a proof of the love and reverence I bear to God, who is so good as to accept of my repentance, and a sincere though imperfect obedience. And if, through weakness, temptation, or sudden surprise, I shall be so unhappy as to forget any of these resolutions and fall into sin, I will, as soon as I perceive it, beg God's pardon, and be more careful for the time to come. Now, if your conscience can witness for
you piously purpose to live after this manner, you may safely go to the Lord's table, and the blessing of God will go along with you.
Go no further till you have considered these purposes again; for they are to be the purposes of your whole life, and of every day of your life. And then address yourself to God, that through His gracious assistance they may make the more lasting impression upon your mind.
, example to walk by, let the remembrance of them be always seasonably present with me. Give me grace to practise them conscientiously; to reverence my betters, and all that are in authority, and especially such as are ordained to pray for and to bless us in Thy Name. Let my love for Thee and for my neighbour keep me from all acts of injustice or injury to his body or good name; let me nev wilfully vex or trouble him; nev covet what is his, or envy his prosperity. May I ever be ready to help and comfort all such as are in distress. Give me grace to be faithful in all things committed to my trust; that I may never pervert truth and justice; never propagate slander, or raise evil reports, nor ever tempt others to sin.
Give me the spirit of temperance and chastity, and grant I may never provoke Thee, by any instance of uncleanness, to shut me out of heaven, where no unclean thing can enter. Give me grace so to order my conversation, that I may encourage others to live as becomes the Gospel of Jesus Christ: for whose sake I beg to be heard. Amen.