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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, sacrament.
He that loveth his life shall lose it: and he that hateth his, life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal. Jolin xi. 25. 1. A Wake thou, O my foul, from the
A sleep of lin; for, behold, life and 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 them be worth such pains: ask if the vain forbid, den things thou lovest, deserve thy affection better than thy Maker. Are they more worthy in themselves, or beneficial : to thee, that thou mayst juftly prefer. them before thy Redeemer? dost thou expect to be at rest, and satisfied by en-, joying them, or everlastingly happy by their procurement ? can they protect thee at the hour of death, or plead thy cause at the day of judgment? 0 ! no. They only deceive me with a fmiling look, which I too often have proved by dear experience.
the day of of death an they
3. It is heaven alone that yields a true content; it is heaven alone that fills its 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 thyself 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 foul to choose thee. For here we, alas! move slowly in the dark, led on by the argum ment of things not seen; but did we clearly see what we say we believe, we Thould soon change the course of our lives.
5. Did we but see the damned in their faines, 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 mises ries ! 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 thole holy ways, by which we know
o gracia fuffer no
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 hé Thall be turned into dust; 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 inco ruin. Supply my want of sight by a lively faith, and itrengthen 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 fill in. cline 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 gain the whole world, and lose my own soul? or what shall I give in exchange for my soul?
Now repair to the public service of the church; but if you have not that opportunity, then employ your time in read. ing some part of the NEW WHOLE DuiY OF MAN, as directed on page 8, especially Sunday 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 sins; help me so to search every secret of my heart, that I may leave no fm, if possible, unrepented of. Giveme grace so impartially to judge and condemn myself, to 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 pre"sumptuous and known fin's, but from all my fecret and unknown transgressions, for his fake who died for finners, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
* Directions for self-examination. i Aring devoutly prayed for God's assistance, doubt not I but he will vouchsafe it to you. And the better to dispose your heart to the duty of self-examination,
Consider seriously with yourself'; thut it is appointed for all men once to die, ana aiter taib to beculled to judgmeiit.
That God hath appointed a day in which he will junge the world in righteousness hy Jesus Christ. At whose coiriiig all men shall rise again with their buities, and shall gire nn
account of their own works; and they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done tvil, into everlasting fire : for the books shall be opened, and the dead shall be judged out of the things written in those bucks, according to their works. And thin,
Consider how much, how nearly it concerns 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 thut I s}.all in this form lay before you the several heads of our duty to God, our neighbour, and ourselves, us the most effectual help in this case ; that upon euch particular head you may erumine your past life, and try the present disposition / your heart.
First, When you examine yourself, let it be chiefly about your wilful sins, and sins of commission ; and be not over scrupulous either to accuse yourself of sins you never commit. ted, or to reckon up all your infirmities; for that would ren. der your examination endless and impraciicable : and though there may be some sins that you may doubt whither you huve Committed; others you may fear you have forgot ; yct 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 whatsoet's r you have done uniiss; and to pray that God would cleanse you from your secret faults. Observing, wheriter you find yourselfirnoceat, to glorify God,and beg of him to preserve and continue you theriin.
Secondly, if you have not wholly neglected, and yet des sire particularly to increase in some Christian virtue, lift un your heart to God, for his holy spirit to aid and assist your sincere endeatours to grow in it; for we are not barely to uroid sin, but to grow in grace and goodness.
Thirdly, When you come to any sin you hade committed often or deliberately, or against the checks of conscience, or against frequent admonitions, or lustly, against your own special tows and resolutions to the contrary, you must take into the accnunt such aggrarating circumstances as increase and heighten the guilt of it, to increase your shame and sorroit, and to show you how greatly we stand in need of God's pardon for what is past, and of his as isting grace to preserre