« AnteriorContinua »
made any rule about it. Where therefore neither the laws of God, nor those of our fuperiors have obliged us, we must use our prudence, and do what we find best.
3. There are these things, O my foul! I fhall propofe in this cafe; if you find that my fafting makes you more devout and ferious, and that you are in a better frame of mind, you should certainly choose to go to the facrament fafting; or if it be indifferent, and you are much the fame whether I faft or not, and find it makes no change at all in you, I would for decency, and with regard to ancient practice, accompany you to the facrament fafting.
4. But as I have by cuftom contracted fuch a habit of eating or drinking fome light matter every morning, that you know I fhall be uneafy or disordered without it; fo I hope, you will permit me to do as I used to do, and that alfo, for your own fake, and to ftrengthen devotion; because the purposes of fafting (which are to raise the mind to God, and to put it in. to a better frame) are better anfwered by moderate refreshment, than by wholly abftaining. Yet, I fay, that as neither God, nor the church, has appointed the contrary, I would advise the morning abftinence on facrament days, where the inconveniency of doing it is none; but I muft difapprove
of it, if there be any inconveniency in abftaining.
5. And let us always remember, that whether we abftain or not, we do it without fcruple in ourselves, and without cenfuring what another perfon does, though contrary to what we do. But let us do in this, and in all other indifferent cafes, what we believe will tend moft to our own fpiritual edification, without regard to what other people do; for every one is to give an account of his own deeds.
The Hymn on Saturday Morning.
Thy fun, thy fervant, bought with blood.
Pant for the cooling water-brook.
Nor fruits or wines that tempt our tafie,
Could make me fo divinely bleft,
My life itself without thy love
No tafte of pleafure could afford;
BROAD is the road that leads to death,
But wifdom fhows a narrower path,
And makes his own deftruction furé.
The Prayer on Saturday Morning.
For obtaining fuch abftinence as is necessary to fubdue the flesh to the spirit.
ALmighty and everlasting God, to whofe good providence I afcribe my health and fafety, and owe the enjoyment of the comfortable refreshment of the night, paft, and the avoidance of thofe evils which I have juftly deferved; for thefe, O Lord, and for all thy other mercies, I defire to adore and blefs thy glorious name, humbly befeeching thee to accept this my morning facrifice of praise and thanksgiving in and through the merits and mediation of my dear Redeemer, who did faft forty days and forty nights, to teach us fuch abftinence as may fubdue our flesh to the fpirit, whereby we may ever obey thy godly motions; and for his fake, O Lord, I humbly be feech thee to pardon all my fins, and grant that a due fenfe of thy mercies may be fo deeply impreffed upon my mind, that I may love thee above all things.
Vouchsafe me the affiftance of thy good spirit, to inure me by self-denial to bring my body into fubjection, and to punish all thofe exceffes I have been guilty of in the ufe of thy creatures; and to enable me to withstand the temptations of this
wicked world, and with an undaunted courage and refolution to bear up under all the trials and difficulties, which I fhall meet with in my Chriftian warfare, Let my retirement from the world make me fee the vanity and emptinefs of it, and teach me to relifh the pleafures of fpiritual enjoyments; let me fpend my foli tary hours in the improvement of Christ-ian knowledge, and do thou open my eyes, that I may fee the wondrous things of thy law. Make me heartily to bewail my fins, and do thou work in me that godly forrow not to be repented of; that fo I may manifeft the fincerity of my love by at conftant and habitual care to do what is pleafing in thy fight.
O Lord, fearch my reins and my heart, prove me and examine my thoughts, grant that I may fincerely examine the ftate of my own mind; that perceiving how bitter a thing it is to depart from the living God, I may no longer continue at a dif tance from the fountain of all joy and happinefs; but be fo truly honeft and upright, and fo steadfast and immovable in the way of truth and juftice, that no worldly intereft or advantage, how promifing or great foever, may be able to fhake my integrity. And give me grace, by confeffing and forfaking my fins, to be entirely.