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The Meditation for Monday Evening. Upon the vanities of the world, and the goodness of God, in order to a worthy receiving of the most holy,
He that loveth his life shall lose it: and be that hateth.his, life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal. John
xi. 25. 1. Wake thou, O my foul, from the
death are set before thee; choose while thy gracious Lord allows thee time and day, left the night and darkness overtake thy neglect: choose, but remember thy eternity is concerned, and deliberate ere thou makest thy choice.
2. Survey all the pleasures of the world before thee, and ask if any of thein be worth such pains: ask if the vain forbid, den things thou loveit, deserve thy affection better than thy Maker. Are they more worthy in themselves, or beneficial to thee, that thou mayst justly prefer them before thy Redeemer? doft* thou expect to be at rest, and satisfied by enjoying them, or everlastingly happy by their procurement ? can they protect thee at the hour of deatḥ, or plead thy cause at the day of judgment? O! no. They only deceive me with a smiling look, which I too often have proved by dear experience.
3. It is heaven alone that yields a true content ; it is heaven alone that fills uis with eternal delight. Say then, my soul, take away your Hatteries, false world, and leave me free for better thoughts. O infinite goodness! it is thylelf alone I choose ; thou art my only happiness for ever. I fee my portion hereafter depends on my choice here; and my choice here, O Lord, depends on thee.
4. O my dearest Lord, do thou choose me, and guide my uninstructed soul to choose thee. For here we, alas! move flowly in the dark, led on by the argu. ment of things not seen; but did we clearly see what we say we believe, we should soon change the course of our lives.
5. Did we but see the damned in their flaines, or hear them cry in the midst of their torments, how should we fear to follow them in their fins, which we know have plunged them into all those iniseries! how should we strive against the next temptation, and cast about to avoid the danger by working out our falvation! or,
6. Did we but see the incomparable glories of the saints; or hear the fweet harmonious hymns which they continually fing, how should we study to imitate those holy ways, by which we know
they they arrived at all their happiness! how should we seek all occasions of improvement, and inake it our business to work out our salvation ! did man but seriously consider what he says he believes, he would never live as he doth. Who can doubt but ere long hè Thall be turned into duít; yet which of us lives as if he thought ever to die?
7. Pity, O gracious Lord, the frailties of thy servant, and suffer not my blindness to lead me into ruin. Supply my want of sight by a lively faith, and strengthen my faith by thy powerful grace : make me remember it is no trifling thing to gain or lose the kingdom of heaven : make me choose wisely, and pursue my choice, and use as well the means, as like the end. O set thou right the bias of my heart, that in all my motions I may draw off from the world ; that I may ftill incline towards thee, and rest at last in thy holy presence. Thou art my Lord, and I will serve thee in fear; thou art my God, and I will love thee in hope : what will it profit me to goin the whole world, and lose my own soul? or what shall I give in exchange for my foul?
Now repair to the public service of the church; but if you have not that opportunity, thenemploy your time in read. ing some part of the NEW WHOLE Duiy of Man, us directed on page 8, especially Sundly 17. Section l.aid VII.
A Prayer before examination, with a firmi
resolution to forsake the vanities of this wicked world. Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. I Cor. xi. 28.
Almighty God, thou searcher of
hearts, who feest' and knowest all my fins; help me so to fearch every fecret of my heart, that I may leave no fm, if possible, unrepented of. Give me grace so impartially to judge and condemn myself, io humbly to repent and beg pardon, that I may not be condemned, when I shall appear at thy tribunal, in the great and terrible day of the Lord Jesus !
But alas! after the most strict examination we can make, who can number his iniquities? who can tell how oft he offendeth ? cleanse me therefore, O Lord, I beseech thee, not only from my presumptuous and known fins, but from all my secret and unknown transgressions, for his fake who died for finners, Jesus Chrift our Lord. Amen.
Directions for self-examination. Haring devonily prayed for God's assistance, doubt not
but he will vouchsafe it to yout. And the better to dispose your heart to the duty of self-examination,
Consider seriousiy with yourself; thut it is appointed for all men once to die, and alter (taid to be called to judgment.
That God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their buities, and shall gire nin
account of their own works; and they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire : for the books shall be opened, and the dead shall be judged out of the things written in those buiks, according to their works. And thin,
Consider how much, how nearly it concerps you to judge yourself before that time, that you be not judged, that is, condemned of the Lord.
But so many and various are the sins of our lives, in thought, word, and deed, and omissions against God, our neighbour, and ourselves, that this work will, at best, be confused, except Christians have proper helps to bring their several sins distinctly to remembrance; so that I shall in this form lay before you the several heads of our duty to G:»l, our neighbour, and ourselves, us the most effectual help in this case; that upon each particular head you may eramine your past life, and try the present disposition of your heart.
First, When you examine yourself, let it be chiefly about your wilful sins, and sins of commission ; and be not ourne scrupulous either to accuse yourself of sins you neter commit. ted, or toʻreckon up all your infirmities; for that would render your examination endless and impracticable ; and though there may be some sins that you may doubt whether you hurre committed; others you may fear you have forgot; yet be not discouraged: for when you have acted honestly and sin*cerely, rest satisfied; but what sins you cannot recollect and find out, so as particularly to confess and bewail, you ought to conclude under a general repentance for whutsoet* r you have done uniiss; and to pray that God would cleanse you from your secret faults. Obsèrting, wheruter you find yourselfirnocent to glorify God,and beg afhim to preserve and continue you ther: in.
Secondly, if you hare not wholly neglected, and yet des sire particularly to increase in some Christian virtue, lije up your heart to God, for his holy spirit to aid and assist your sincere endeavours to grow in it; for we are not barely to droid sin, but to grow in grace and goodness.
Thirdly, When you come to any sin you hade committed often or deliberutely, or against the checks of conscience, or against frequent admonitions, or lustly, against your own special rous and resolutions to the contrary, you must take into the account such aggrarating circumstances as increase and heighten the guilt of it, to increase yo!ır shume und sorrow, and to show you how greatly ve stand in need of God's pardon for what is past, and of his asisting grace to preserte