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2. Of thanksgiving.
7. Of meditation, or serious, deliberate, useful reading of the Holy Scriptures. 11. I advise that your reading should be governed by these measures :
1. Let it be not of the whole Bible in order, but for your devotion use the New Testament, and such portions of the Old as contain the precepts of holy life.
2. The historical, and less useful part, let it be read at such other times which you have of leisure from your domestic employments.
3. Those portions of Scripture which you use in your prayers, let them not be long. A chapter at once, no more; but then what time you can afford, spend it in thinking and meditating upon the holy precepts which
4. Be sure to meditate so long, till you make some act of piety upon the occasion of what you meditate ; either that you get some new arguments against a sin, or some new encouragements to virtue ; some spiritual strength and advantage, or else some act of prayer to God, or glorification of him.
5. I advise that you would read your chapter in the midst of your prayers in the morning, if they be divided according to the number of the former actions; because little interruptions will be apt to make your prayers less tedious, and yourself more attent upon them. But if you find any other way more agreeing to your spirit
and disposition, use your liberty without scruple.
12. Before you go forth of your closet, after your prayers are done, sit yourself down a little while, and consider what you are to do that day, what matter of business is like to employ you, or to tempt you; and take particular resolution against that, whether it be matter of wrangling, or anger, or covetousness, or vain courtship, or feasting: and when you enter upon it, remember upon what you resolved in your
ουκ έστι τίνα σωθήναι μή συνεχώς αναγνώσεως απολαυοντα πνευματικής. . S. Chrysost. Homil. 3. de Lazaro.
closet. If you are likely to have nothing extraordinary that day, a general recommendation of the affairs of that day to God in your prayers, will be sufficient; but if there be any thing foreseen that is not usual, be sure to be armed for it, by a hearty, though a short prayer, and an earnest, prudent resolution beforehand : and then watch when the thing comes.
13. Whosoever hath children or servants, let him or her take care, that all the children and servants of the family say their prayers before they begin their work; the Lord's prayer, and the ten commandments, with the short verse at the end of every commandment, which the church uses; and the creed is a very good office for them, if they be not fitted for more regular offices. And to these also it were good that some proper prayer were apportioned, and they taught it. It were well if they would serve themselves of this form set down at the end of this Diary.
14. Then go about the affairs of your house, and proper employment, ever avoiding idleness, or too much earnestness of affection upon the things of the world: do your business prudently, temperately, diligently, humbly, charitably.
15. Let there be no idle person in or about your family, or beggars, or unemployed servants, but find them all work and meat; call upon them carefully ; reprove them without reproaches, or fierce railings. Be a master, or a mistress, and a friend to them, and exact of them to be faithful and diligent.
16. In your servants, suffer any offence against yourself, rather than against God; endure not that they should swear, or lie, or steal, or be wanton, or curse each other, or be railers, or slanderers, or tell-tales, and sowers of dissension in the family, or amongst neighbours.
17. In all your intercourse with your neighbours in the day, let your affairs be wholly matter of business or civility, and always managed with justice and charity; never let it be matter of curiosity or inquiry into the actions of others; always without censuring or rash judgment, without backbiting, slandering, or detraction: do it not yourself, neither converse with them that do. He or she that loves talebearers, shall never be beloved, or be innocent.
18. Before dinner and supper, as often as it is convenient, or can be had, let the public prayers of the church, or some parts of them, be said publicly in the family, and let as many be present as you can. The same rule is also to be observed for Sundays and holy-days, for their going to church. Let no servant be always detained, but relieved and provided for by changes.
19. Let your meal be temperate and wholesome, according to your quality, and the season, begun and ended with prayer; and be sure that in the course of your meal, and before you rise, you recollect yourself, and send your heart up to God with some holy and short ejaculation, remembering your duty, fearing to offend, or desiring and sighing after the eternal supper of the Lamb.
20. After meal, use what innocent refreshment you please, to refresh your mind or body, with these measures :
1. Let it not be too expensive of time.
2. Let it not hinder your devotion, nor your business.
3. Let it be always without violence or passion.
4. Let it not then wholly take you up when you are at it; but let your heart retire with some holy thoughts, and sober recollections, lest your mind be seized upon by it, and your affections carried off from better things : secure your affections for God, and sober and severe employment. Here you may be refreshed, but take heed you neither dwell here, nor sin here. It is better never to use recreation, than at any time to sin by it. But you may use recreation, and avoid sin, and that is the best temper : but if you cannot do both, be more careful of your soul, than of your refreshment, and that is the best security. But then in what you use to sin, carefully avoid it, and change your refreshment for some other
instance, in which you can be more innocent. 21. Entertain no long discourses with any, but, if you can, bring in something to season it with religion: as God must be in all your thoughts, so, if it be possible, let him be in all your discourses, at least, let him be at one end of it; and when you cannot speak of him, be sure you forget not to think of him.
22. Toward the declining of the day, be sure to retire to your private devotions. Read, meditate, and pray; in which I propound to you this method :
On the Lord's day meditate on the glories of the creation, the works of God, and all his benefits to
mankind, and to you in particular. Then let your devotion be humbly upon your knees, to say over the 8th and 19th psalms, and sometimes the 104th, with proper collects which you shall find or get: adding the form of thanksgiving which is in the Rule of Holy Living,' page 293, in the manner as is there directed; or some other of your own choosing. Meditate on Monday 1. Death.
Tuesday 2. Judgment.
Thursday 4. Hell.
On Friday, recollect your sins that you have done that week, and all your lifetime; and let your devotion be to recite, humbly and devoutly, some penitential litanies, whereof you may serve yourself in the · Rule of Holy Living,' p. 284.
On Saturday, at the same time, meditate on the passion of our blessed Saviour and all the mysteries of our redemption, which you may do and pray together, by using the forms made to that purpose in the · Rule of Holy Living, page 298. devotions begin and end with the Lord's Prayer.
Upon these two days and Sunday, you may choose some portions out of the Life of Christ,' to read and help your meditation, proper to the mysteries you are
appointed to meditate, or any other devout books. 23. Read not much at a time; but meditate as much as your time and capacity and disposition will give you leave: ever remembering, that little reading, and much thinking, little speaking, and much hearing, — frequent and short prayers, and great devotion,-is the best way to be wise, to be holy, to be devout.
24. Before you go to bed, bethink yourself of the day past; if nothing extraordinary hath happened, your conscience is the sooner examined; but if you have had any difference or disagreeing with any one, or a great feast, or great company, or a great joy, or a great sorrow, then recollect yourself with the more diligence; ask pardon for what is amiss; give God thanks for what was good: if you have
In all your
omitted any duty, make amends next day; and yet if nothing be found that was amiss, be humbled still and thankful, and pray God for pardon if any thing be amiss that you know not of. If all these things be in your offices, for your last prayers, be sure to apply them according to what you find in your examination : but if they be not, supply them with short ejaculations before you begin your last prayers, or at the end of them. Remember also, and be sure to take notice of, all the mercies and deliverances of yourself, and your relatives, that day.
25. As you are going to bed, as often as you can conveniently, or that you are not hindered by company, meditate on death, and the preparations to your grave. When you lie down, close your eyes with a short prayer, commit yourself into the hands of your faithful Creator; and when you have done, trust him with yourself, as you must do when you are dying.
26. If you awake in the night, fill up the intervals or spaces of your not sleeping by holy thoughts and aspirations, and remember the sins of your youth: and sometimes remember your dead, and that you shall die; and pray to God to send to you and all mankind a mercy in the day of judgment.
27. Upon the holy-days observe the same rules; only let the matter of your meditations be according to the mystery of the day. “As upon Christmas-day, meditate on the birth of our blessed Saviour, and read that story and considerations which are in the Life of Christ:' and to your ordinary devotions of every day, add the prayer which is fitted to the mystery which you shall find in the Life of Christ,' or in the · Rule of holy Living. Upon the day of the Annunciation, or our Lady-day, meditate on the incarnation of our blessed Saviour; and so, upon all the festivals of the year.
28. Set apart one day for fasting once a week, or once a fortnight, or once a month at least, but let it be with these cautions and measures.
1. Do not choose a festival of the church for your fasting day.
2. Eat nothing till your afternoon devotions be done, if the health of your body will permit it: if not, take something, though it be the less.
3. When you eat your meal, let it be no more than