The True Manner of Keeping the Lord’s day.

The Duties to be performed before
the Public Exercises, are –

 1. To give over working betimes on the eve, that thy body may be refreshed, and thy mind the better fitted to sanctify the Sabbath on the next day. For want of the preparation, thyself and thy servants being tired with labour and watching the night before, are so heavy, that when you should be serving God, and hearing what his Spirit saith unto the church for your souls’ instruction, you cannot hold up your heads for sleeping; to the dishonour of God, the offence of the church, and the shame of yourselves: therefore the Lord commands us not only to keep holy, but also to remember beforehand the Sabbath day – to keep it holy, by preparing our hearts, and removing all business that might hinder us to consecrate it as a glorious day unto the Lord (Isa. lvi. 2, &c.; lviii. 13, &c.) Therefore whereas the Lord, in the other commandments, does but either bid or forbid, he does both in this commandment, and that with a special memorandum: As if a Master should charge his servant to look well unto ten things of great trust, but to have a more special care to remember one of those ten, for divers weighty reasons; should not a faithful servant, that loves his master, show a more special care unto that thing above all other businesses?

    Thus Moses taught the people over night to remember the Sabbath (Exod. xvi. 23, &c.) And it was a holy custom among our forefathers, when, at the ringing to prayer on the eve before the husbandman would five over his labour in the field, and the tradesman his work in the shop, and go to evening prayer in the church, to prepare their souls; that their minds might more cheerfully attend God’s worship on the Sabbath day.

    2. To rise up early in the morning on the Sabbath day. Be careful, therefore, to rise sooner on this day than on other days; by how much the service of God is to be preferred before all earthly business. For there is no master to serve so good as God; and in the end, no work shall be better rewarded than his service.

    3. When thou art up, consider with thyself what an impure sinner thou art, and into what an holy place thou goest to appear, before the most holy God, who seeth thy heart, and hateth all iniquity and hypocrisy. Examine yourself, therefore, before thou goest to Church, what grievous sins thou hast committed the week past; confess them to God, and earnestly pray for the pardon and forgiveness of them, and so reconcile thyself with God in Christ. Renew thy vows to walk more conscionably, and pray for an increase of those graces which thou hast, and a supply of those which thou wantest. But especially pray that thou mayest have grace to hear the word of God read and preached with profit; and that thou mayest receive the holy sacrament with comfort, if it be communion day; that God by his Holy Spirit would assist the preacher to speak something that may kill thy sin, and comfort thy soul; – which thou mayest do in this or the like sort: –

The Practice of Piety 
by Lewis Bayly. 
A Puritan Devotional Manual. 
(pp. 191-193) 

Now the Third of Duties after the holy Assembly.

As thou returnest home, or when thou art entered into thy house, meditate a little while upon those things which thou hast heard. And as the clean beasts which chew the cud (Lev. xi. 3), so must thou bring again to thy remembrance that which thou heard in the church. And kneeling down, turn all to prayer, beseeching God to give such a blessing to those things which thou hast heard, that they may be direction to life, and a consolation unto thy soul (Psal. cxix. 11.) For till the word be thus made our own, and, as it were, close hidden in our hearts, we are in danger lest Satan steal it away, and we shall receive no profit thereby (Matt. xiii.19.) And when thou goest to dinner, in that reverent and thankful manner before prescribed, remember, according to thy ability, to have one more poor Christians, whose hungry bowels may be refreshed with thy meat; imitating holy Job, who protested that he did never eat his morsel alone, without the good company of the poor and fatherless (Job xxxi.17, 18:) that is the commandment of Christ our Master (Luke xiv. 13,) Or at leastwise, send some part of thy dinner to the poor who lies sick in the back-lane, without any food (Esth. Ix. 22;) for this will bring a blessing upon all thy works and labours (Deut. xv. 10, &c.;) and it will one day more rejoice thy soul than it doth now refresh his body, when Christ shall say unto thee, “O blessed child of God! I was an hungered, and thou gavest me meat,” &c. And, “forasmuch as thou hast done it for my sake to the least of these my brethren, I take it in as good part as if thou hadst done it to my own self.”

When dinner is ended, and the Lord praised, call thy family together:* examine what they have heard in the sermon (Acts xvii. 11; Heb. v. 14;) commend them that do well, yet discourage not them whose memories or capacities are weaker, but rather help them, for their wills and minds may be as good. Turn to the proofs which the preacher alleged, and rub those good things over their memories again (Deut. vi. 7.) Then sing a psalm or more (Matt. xxvi. 30; Jam. V. 13.) If time permit, thou mayest teach and examine them in some part of the catechism (Heb. vi. 1), conferring every point with proofs of the holy Scripture. This will both increase our knowledge and sharpen our memory; seeing by experience we find, that in every trade they who are most exercised are ever most expert (Heb. v. 14.) But in anywise, remember so to dispose all these private exercise, as that thou mayest be with the first in the holy congregation at the evening exercise; where behave thyself in the like devotion and reverence as was prescribed for the holy exercise of the morning.

After evening prayer, and at thy supper, behave thyself in the like religious and holy manner as was formerly prescribed. And either before or after supper, if the season of the year and weather do serve.

1. Walk into the fields and meditate upon the works of God; for in every creature thou mayest read, as in an open book, the wisdom, power, providence, and goodness of Almighty God (Psal. xcii. 5; xix. 1 &c.; vii. 1, 3, &c.; Rom. i. 19, 20;) and that none is able to make all these things in the variety of their forms, virtues, beauties, life, motions, and qualities, but our most glorious God (Isa. xl. 26.)

2. Consider how gracious he is that made all these things to serve us (Psal. viii.)

3. Take occasion hereby to stir up both thyself and others to admire and adore his power, wisdom, and goodness; and to think what ungrateful wretches we are, if we will not, in all obedience, serve and honour him.

4. If any neighbour be sick, or in any heaviness, go to visit him (Jam. v. 14, &c.) If any be fallen at variance, help to reconcile them.

To conclude, three sorts of works may lawfully be done on the Sabbath day.

1. Works of piety, which either directly concern the service of God, though they be performed by bodily labour; as, under the law, the priests laboured in killing and dressing of sacrifices, and burning them on the alter (Matt. xii. 5.) And Christians under the Gospel when they travel far to the places of God’s worship, it is but a Sabbath day’s journey (Acts i. 12), like to that of the Shunamite, who travelled from home to hear the prophet on the Sabbath day, because she had no teaching near her own dwelling 2 Kings iv. 22.) And the preacher, though he labours in the sweet of his brow to the wearying of his body, yet he doth but a Sabbath day’s work. For the holy end sanctifieth the work, as the temple did the gold, or the alter the gift thereon;-or else such bodily labour, whereby the people of God are assembled to his worship, as the sounding of trumpets under the law (Numb. X. 2, 3), or he ringing of bells under the gospel. 

2. Works of charity, as to save the life of a man (John v. 9; Mark iii. 4), or of a beast (Matt. xii. 11;) to fodder, water, and dress cattle (Luke xiii. 15;) to make honest provision of meat and drink (Matt. xii. 1;) to refresh ourselves, and to relieve the poor, to visit the sick, to make collection for the poor, and such like (1 Cor. xvi. 1.) 

3. Works of necessity, not feigned, but present and imminent, and such as could not be prevented before, nor can be deferred to another day-as to resist the invasion of enemies, or the robberies of thieves; to quench the rage of fire, and for physicians to stanch or let blood, or to cure any other desperate disease; and for midwives to help women in labour; mariners may do their labour; soldiers, being assailed, may fight; and such like. On these or the like occasions, a man may lawfully work. Yea, and when they are called, they may, upon any of these occasions, go out of the church, and from the holy exercises of the word and sacraments; provided always, that they be humbled that such occasions fall out upon that day and time; and that they take no money for their pains on that day, but only for their stuff, as in the fear of God, and conscience of his commandment.

When the time approaches, retire thyself to some private place; and knowing that in the state of corruption on man living can sanctify a Sabbath in that spiritual manner that he should, but that he commits many breaches thereof, in his thoughts, words, and deeds, humbly crave pardon for thy defects, and reconcile thyself to God, with this or the like evening sacrifice:-    

*If thou be a private man, either perform these holy duties by thyself, or join with some godly family in the performance of them.

The Practice of Piety 
by Lewis Bayly. 
A Puritan Devotional Manual. 
(pp. 200-203) 

The Second sort of Duties which are to be performed at the time of holy assembly.

When prayers begin, lay aside thy own private meditations, and let thy heart join with the minister and the whole church, as being one body of Christ (1 Cor. xii. 12;) and because that God is the God of order, he will have all things to be done in the church with one heart and accord (Acts ii. 46;) and the exercises of the church are common and public (chap. iv. 32.) It is therefore an ignorant pride, for a man to think his own private prayers more effectual than the public prayers of the whole church. Solomon therefore advises a man not to be rash to utter a thing in the church before God. Pray, therefore, when the church prayeth, sing when they sing; and in the action of kneeling, standing, sitting, and such different ceremonies (for the avoiding of scandal, the continuance of charity, and in testimony of thine obedience), conform thyself to the manner of the church wherein thou livest (Ezek. xlvi. 10; Psal. cx. 3.)

Whilst the preacher is expounding and applying the word of the Lord, look upon him; for it is a great help to stir up thine attention, and to keep thee from wandering thoughts: so the eyes of all that were in the synagogue are said to have been fastened on Christ whilst he preached, and that all the people hanged upon him when they heard him. Remember that thou art there as one of Christ’s disciples, to learn the knowledge of salvation, by the remission of sins, through the tender mercy of God (Luke i. 77.)

Be not, therefore, in the school of Christ, like an idle boy in a grammar-school, that often hears, but never learns his lesson; and still goes to school, but profiteth nothing. Thou hatest it in a child-Christ destesteth it in thee. To the end, therefore, that thou mayest the better profit by hearing, mark-

1. The coherence and explication of the text.The chief sum or scope of the Holy Ghost in that text.

2. The division or parts of the text.

3. The doctrines; and in every doctrine, the proofs, the reasons, and the uses therefore.

A method, of all others, easiest for the people (being accustomed to it),to help them to remember the sermon; and therefore al faithful pastors, who desire to edify their people in the knowledge of God, and in his true religion, much wish it to be put in practice.

If the preacher’s method be too curious or confused, then labour to remember-

1. How many things he taught which thou knewest not before; and be thankful.

2. What sins he reproved, therefore thy conscience tells thee that thou art guilty; and therefore must be repented.

3. What virtues he exhorted unto, which are not so perfect in thee; and therefore endeavour to practice them with more zeal and diligence.

But in hearing, apply every speech as spoken to thyself, rather by God than by man (Isa. ii. 3; Acts x. 33; Gal. iv. 14; 1 Thess. ii. 13;) and labour not so much to hear the words of the preacher sounding in thine ear, as to feel the operation of the Spirit working in thy heart. Therefore it is said so often, “Let him that hath an ear hear what the Spirit speaks to the church,” (Rev. ii. 7;) and, “Did not our hearts burn within us whilst he opened unto us the Scripture?” (Luke xxiv. 32.) And thus to hear the word, hath a blessing promised to it (Luke xi. 28.) It is the most acceptable sacrificing of ourselves unto God (Rom. xv. 16.) It is the surest note of Christ’s saints. (Deut. xxxiii. 3;) the truest mark of Christ’s sheep (John x. 4;) the most apparent sign of God’ elect (John viii. 47; xviii. 37;) the very blood, as it were, which unites us to be the spiritual kindred, brethren and sisters of the Son of God (Luke i. 21; Mark iii. 35.) This is the best art of memory for a good hearer.

                When the sermon is ended-

1. Beware thou depart not like the nine lepers, till, for a thine instruction to saving health, thou hast returned thanks and praise to God by an after prayer, and singing of a psalm. And when the blessing is pronounced, stand up to receive thy part therein, and her it as if Christ himself (whose minister he is) did pronounce the same unto thee: For in this case it is true, “He that heareth you heareth me,” (Luke x. 16;) and the Sabbath day is blessed, because God hath appointed it to be the day wherein, by the mouth of his ministers he will bless his people which hear his word and glorify his name (Num. vi. 23, 27.) For though the Sabbath day itself be no more blessed than the other six days, yet, because the Lord hath appointed it to holy uses above others, it as far excels the other six days of the week as the consecrated bread which we receive at the Lord’s table does the common bread which we eat at our own table.

1. If it be a communion-day, draw near to the Lord’s table in the wedding garment of a faithful and penitent heart, to be partaker of so holy a banquet.

And when baptism* is to be administered, stay and behold it with all reverent attention, that so thou mayest First, Show thy reverence to God’s ordinance; Secondly, That thou mayest the better consider thine own ingrafting into the visible body of Christ’s church, and how thou performest the vows of thy new covenant; Thirdly, That thou mayest repay thy debts, in praying for the infant which is to be baptized (as other Christian did in the like case for thee), that God would give him the inward effects of baptism, by his blood and Spirit; Fourthly, That thou mayest assist the church in praising God for grafting another member into his mystical body; Fifthly, That thou mayest prove whether the effects of Christ’s death killeth sin in thee, and whether thou be raised to newest of life by the virtue of his resurrection; and so to be humbled for thy wants, and to be thankful for his graces; Sixthly, To show thyself to be a freeman of Christ’s corporation, having a voice or consent in the admission of others into that holy society.

If there be any collection for the poor, freely without grudging bestow thine alms, as God hath blessed thee with ability (1 Cor. xvi. 1; 2 Cor. ix. 5, 6, 7, &c.)

* I cannot refrain from remarking the careless and indifferent manner in which too often this divine ordinance is administered, as well as witnessed. And it is a fact, evident to the most common observer, that, generally, the minister who lays the greatest stress upon the regenerating efficacy of the mere rite itself, is the most remarkable for service; so that spectators who knew no better might well suppose that he was hurrying over some unmeaning and distasteful ceremony, destitute of divine sanction, which had been imposed upon him, instead of dispensing a holy ordinance, necessary to salvation, commanded by Christ himself.

The Practice of Piety 
by Lewis Bayly. 
A Puritan Devotional Manual. 
(pp. 197-200) 

Things to be meditated on as thou goest to the Church.

 That thou art going to the court of the Lord, and to speak with the great God by prayer; and to hear his majesty speak unto thee by his word; and to receive his blessing on thy soul, and thy honest labour, in the six days past.

2. Say with thyself by the way-“As the heart brayeth for the rivers of water, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, even for the living God: When shall I come and appear before the presence of God? For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my god, than to dwell in the tabernacles of wickedness. Therefore I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercies, and in thy fear will I worship toward thine holy temple.”

3. As thou enterest into the church, say-“How fearful is this place! This is none other but the house of God; this is the gate of heaven. Surely the Lord is in this place: God is in this people indeed.” And prostrating with thy face downward (1 Cor. xvi. 25), being come to thy place, say-“O Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy honour dwelleth: One thing, therefore, have I desired of thee, that I will require, even that I may dwell in thy house all the days of my life, to behold thy beauty, and to visit thy temple: Therefore will I offer in thy tabernacle sacrifices of joy, I will sing and praise the Lord. Harken unto my voice, O Lord, when I cry; have mercy also upon me, and hear me. Doubtless, kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell for eve in the house of the Lord.” And this is that preparation, or looking to our feet, to which Solomon advises us before we enter into the house of God (Eccl. v. 1.)

The Practice of Piety 
by Lewis Bayly. 
A Puritan Devotional Manual. 
(pp. 196-1971.

The Duties to be performed before the Public Exercises, are – A private Evening Prayer for the Lord’s day.

O holy holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth! Me, who am but dust and ashes, to speak unto thy most glorious majesty. I know that thou art a consuming fire; I acknowledge that I am but withered stubble: my sins are in thy sight, and Satan stands at my right hand to accuse me of them. I come not excuse but tot judge myself of all those judgments which thy justice might most justly inflict upon me, a wretched creature, for my sins and transgressions. The number of them is so great, the nature of them is o grievous, that they make me seem vile in my own eyes; how much more loathsome in thy sight? I confess they make me so far from being worthy to be called thy son, that I am altogether unworthy to have the name of thy meanest servant; and if thou shouldst but recompense me according to my heart, the earth, as weary of such a sinful burden, should open her mouth and swallow me up, like one of Dathan’s family, into the bottomless pit of hell. For if thou didst not spare the natural branches, those angels of glorious excellency, but didst hurl them down from the heavenly habitations into the pains of hellish darkness, to be kept unto dammation, when they sinned but once against thy Majesty, and didst expel our first parents out of paradise when they did but transgress one of thy laws; alas! What vengeance may I expect, who have not offended in one sin only, heaping daily sin upon sin without any true repentance, drinking iniquity as it were water, ever pouring in but never pouring out  any filthiness, and have transgressed not one, but all thy holy laws and commandments? Yea, this present day which thou hast straitly commanded me to keep holy to thy praise and worship, I have not so religiously kept and observed, nor prepared my soul in that holiness and purity of heart, as was fit to meet thy blessed Majesty in the holy assembly of the saints. I have not attended to the preaching of thy word, nor to the administration of thy sacraments, with that humility, reverence, and devotion that I should: for through I was present at those holy exercises in my body, yet, I Lord, I was overtaken with much drowsiness; and when I was awake my mind was so distracted and carried away with vain and worldly thoughts, that my soul seemed to be absent and out of the church. I have not so duly, as I should, meditated with myself, nor conferred with my family upon those good instructions which we have heard and received out of thy holy word by the public ministry: for default of which, Satan hath stolen the most part of those instructions out of my heart, and I, wretched creature, have forgotten them as though they had never been heard. And my family doth not thrive in knowledge and sanctification under my government, as they should. Though I know where many of my poor brethren live in want and necessity, and some in pain, and comfortless; yet I have not remembered to relieve the one with my alms, nor the other with consolations; but I have feasted myself and satisfied my own lusts. I have spent the most part of the day in idle talk and vain exercises; yea, Lord, I have, &c. – [Here confess whatsoever fault thou hast done that day by omission or commission, and then fetching from thy heart a deep sigh, say] – and for all these my sins, my conscience cries guilty, thy law condemns me, and I am thy hand to receive the sentence and the curse due to the wilful breach of so holy a commandment. But what if I am by thy law condemned? Yet, Lord, thy gospel assures me that thy mercy is above all thy works; that thy grace transcends thy law; and thy goodness delighteth there to reign where sins do most abound. In the multitude of thy mercies, and for the merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, I beseech thee, O Lord, who despisest not the sighings of a contrite heart, nor desirest the death of a penitent sinner, to pardon and forgive me all those my sins, and all the errors of this day of my whole life, and free my soul from that curse and judgment which is due unto me for them. Thou that didst justify the contrite publican for four words of confession, and receive the prodigal child, when he had spent all the stock of thy grace, into favour upon his repentance; pardon my sins likewise, O Lord, and suffer me not to perish for my transgressions. O spare me, and receive me into thy favour gain. Wilt thou, O Lord, who hast received all publicans, harlots, and sinners, that upon repentance sued to thee for grace, reject me? Shall I alone be excluded from thy mercy? For be it from me to think so: for thou art the same God of mercy to me that thou wast to them, and thy compassions never fail. Wherefore, O Lord, deal not with me after my merits, but according to thy great; execute not thy severe justice against me a sinner, but exercise thy long-sufferance in forbearing thy own creature. I have nothing to present unto thee for a satisfaction, but only those bloody wounds, bitter death and passion, which thy blessed Son, my only Saviour, hath suffered for me. Him, in whom only thou art well pleased, I offer unto thee for all my sins wherewith thou art displeased: him, My Mediator, the request of whose blood, speaketh better things that that of Abel, thy mercy can never gainsay. Illuminate my understanding and sanctify my heart with thy Holy Spirit, that it may bring to my remembrance all those good and profitable lessons which this day and at other times have been taught me out of thy Holy word; that I may remember thy commandments to keep them-thy judgments to avoid them-and thy sweet promises to rely upon them, in time of misery and distress. And now, O Lord, I resign myself to thy most holy will: O receive me into thy favour, and so draw me by thy grace unto thyself, that I may as well be thine by love and imitation as by calling and creation. And give me grace so to keep holy thy Sabbaths in this life, that when this life is ended, I may, with all the saints and angels, celebrate an eternal Sabbath of joy and praise to the honour of thy most glorious name, in thy heavenly kingdom for evermore. Amen.

 And then calling thy family together, shut up the Sabbath with then meditations and prayers before prescribed for thy family. And the Lord will give thee that night a more sweet and quite rest than ordinary, and prosper thee the better in all the labours of the week following.

The Practice of Piety 
by Lewis Bayly. 
A Puritan Devotional Manual. 
 pp.203-207)

THE TRUE MANNER OF KEEPING THE LORD’S DAY.

Now the sanctifying of the Sabbath consists in two things-First, In resting from all servile and common business pertaining to our natural life; Secondly, In consecrating that rest wholly to the service of God, and the use of those holy means which belong to our spiritual life.

For the first

1. The servile and common works from which we are to cease are, generally, all civil works, from the least to the greatest (Exod. xxxi. 12, 13, 15, &c.) More particularly-

First, From all the works of our calling, though it were reaping in time of harvest (Exod. xxxiv. 21.)

 Secondly, From carrying burdens, as carries do (Neh. xiii. 15; Jer. xvii. 21, 22, 27;) or riding for profit or for pleasure. God hath command that the beasts should rest on the Sabbath day, because all occasions of travelling or labouring with them should be cut off from man. God gives them that day a rest (Deut. v. 14;) and he without necessity deprived them of their rest on the Lord’s day, the groans of the poor tired beasts shall in the day of the Lord rise up in judgment against him (Rom. viii. 22; Deut. xxv. 4; 1 Cor. ix. 9.) Likewise such as spend the greatest part of this day in trimming, painting, and pampering of themselves, Like Jezebels, do the devil’s work upon God’s day.

Thirdly, From keeping of fairs or markets (Neh. xiii. 15, 16, 19;) which for the most part God punishes with pestilence, fire, and strange floods.

Fourthly, From studying any books of science but the Holy Scriptures and divinity: for our study must be to be ravished in spirit upon the Lord’s day (Rev. i. 10.)In a word, thou must on that day cease in thy calling to so thy own work, that the Lord by his calling may do his work in thee: for whatsoever is gotten by common working on this day shall never be blessed of the Lord; but it will prove like Achan’s gold, which being got contrary to the Lord’s commandment, brought the fire of God’s curse upon all the rest which he had lawfully gotten. And if Christ scourged them out as thieves who bought and sold in his temple, which was but a ceremony shortly to be abrogated, is it to be thought that he will ever, suffer those to escape unpunished who, contrary to his commandment, buy and sell on the Sabbath day, which is his perpetual law? Christ calleth such, sacrilegious thieves; and as well may they steal the communion cup from the Lord’s table, as steal from God the chiefest part of the Lord’s day to consume it in their own lusts. Such shall one day find the judgments of God heavier than the opinions of men. 

Fifthly, From all recreations and sports, which at some other times are lawful: for if lawful works be forbidden on this day, much more lawful sports; which do more steal away our affections from the contemplation of heavenly things (Isa. lix. 13, 14), than any bodily work or labour. Neither can there be to a man that delighteth in the Lord (Psal. xxxvii. 4), any greater delight or recreation than the sanctifying of the Lord’s day. For can any greater joy for a person condemned than to come to his prince’s house to have his pardon sealed? – for one that is deadly sick to come to a physician that can cure him? – or for a prodigal child that fed on the husks of the swine to be admitted to eat the bread of life at his father’s table? – or for him who fears for sin the tidings of death, to come to hear from God the assurance of eternal life? If thou wilt allow thyself or thy servants recreation, allow it in the six days which are thine, not on the Lord’s day, which is neither thine nor theirs. No bodily recreation, therefore, is to be used on this day, but so far as it may help the soul to do more cheerfully the service of God.

Sixthly, From gross feeding, liberal drinking of wine or strong drink (Eph. v. 18, 19), which may make us either drowsy or unapt to serve God with our hearts and minds (Rom. xii. 11; Deut. xxviii. 47.)

Seventhly, From all talking about worldly things, which hindereth the sanctifying of the Sabbath more than working: seeing one may work alone, but cannot talk but with others. He that keeps the Sabbath only by resting from his ordinary work, keeps it but as a beast. But rest on this day is so far commanded to Christians, as it is an help to sanctification; and labour so far forbidden, as it is an impediment to the outward and inward worship of God.

    If, then, those recreations which are lawful at other times, are on the Sabbath not allowed; much more those that are altogether at all times unlawful. Who without mourning can endure to see Christians keep the Lord’s day, s if they celebrated a feast rather to Bacchus, than to the honour of the Lord Jesus, the Saviour and Redeemer of the world? For, having served God but an hour in outward shew, they spend the rest of the Lord’s day in sitting down to eat and drink, and rising up to play; first ballasting their bellies with eating and drinking, and then feeding their lusts with playing and dancing (1 Cor. x. 7; Exod. xxxii. 6, 18, 19.) Against which profanations all holy divines, both old and new, have in their times most bitterly inveighed: insomuch, that Augustine affirms, “that it was better to plough than to dance on the Sabbath day.”

    Now in the names of Almighty God, who rested, having created heaven and earth, and of his eternal Son Jesus, the Redeemer of his church, who shall shortly come, on the dreadful day of doom, to judge all men according to the obedience which they have shewed to his commandments (Acts xvii. 31 ; Rom. ii. 12 &c.; 2 Thess. ii. 8, &c.),I require thee who readest these words, as thou wilt answer before the face of Christ and all his holy angels at that day, that thou better weigh and consider whether dancing, stage-playing, masking, carding, dicing, tabling, chess-playing, bowing, shooting, bear-baiting, carousing, tippling,  and such other fooleries of Robin Hood, morrice-dances, May-games, be exercises that God wakes, and allow on the Sabbath day. And seeing that no action ought to be done that day, but such as whereby we either bless God, or look to receive a blessing from God; how darest thou do those things on that blessed day, on which thou darest not to pray to God to bestow a blessing on it to thy use? Hear this and tremble at this, O profane youth of a profane age!

    O heart all frozen and void of the feeling of the grace of God! That having every day in six- every hour in every day- every minute in every hour, so tasted the sweet mercy of thy God in Christ, without which thou hadst perished every moment; yet canst not find in thy corrupt and irreligious heart to spend in thy Master’s service that one day a week, which he hath reserved for his own praise and worship. Let men in defence of their profaneness object what they will, and answer what the devil puts in their mouths, yet I could wish them to remember, that seeing it is an ancient tradition in the church that the Lord’s second coming shall be upon the Lord’s day, how little joy they should have to be overtaken in those carnal sports, to please themselves, when their Master should find them in spiritual exercises serving him; the profanest wretch would then wish rather to be taken kneeling at prayers in the church, than skipping like a goat in a dance. If this cannot move, yet I would wish our impure gallants to remember, that whilst they thus amuse themselves on the Lord’s day, contrary to the Lord’s commandment, they do but dance about the pit’s brink, and they know not which of them shall first fall therein: into which being once fallen without repentance, no greatness can exempt them from the vengeance of that great God, whose commandment, contrary to their knowledge and conscience, they do thus presumptuously transgress. If then, God’s commandment cannot deter thee, nor God’s word advice thee, I say no more but what St. John said before me, “He which is filthy let him be filthy still.”* *This was the last heaviest curse that St. John wished spiritual Babylon

The Practice of Piety
by Lewis Bayly.
A Puritan Devotional Manual.
(Pp. 187-191)

For the second.

     1. To give over working betimes on the eve, that thy body may be refreshed, and thy mind the better fitted to sanctify the Sabbath on the next day. For want of the preparation, thyself and thy servants being tired with labour and watching the night before, are so heavy, that when you should be serving God, and hearing what his Spirit saith unto the church for your souls’ instruction, you cannot hold up your heads for sleeping; to the dishonour of God, the offence of the church, and the shame of yourselves: therefore the Lord commands us not only to keep holy, but also to remember beforehand the Sabbath day – to keep it holy, by preparing our hearts, and removing all business that might hinder us to consecrate it as a glorious day unto the Lord (Isa. lvi. 2, &c.; lviii. 13, &c.) Therefore whereas the Lord, in the other commandments, does but either bid or forbid, he does both in this commandment, and that with a special memorandum: As if a Master should charge his servant to look well unto ten things of great trust, but to have a more special care to remember one of those ten, for divers weighty reasons; should not a faithful servant, that loves his master, show a more special care unto that thing above all other businesses?

    Thus Moses taught the people over night to remember the Sabbath (Exod. xvi. 23, &c.) And it was a holy custom among our forefathers, when, at the ringing to prayer on the eve before the husbandman would five over his labour in the field, and the tradesman his work in the shop, and go to evening prayer in the church, to prepare their souls; that their minds might more cheerfully attend God’s worship on the Sabbath day.

    2. To rise up early in the morning on the Sabbath day. Be careful, therefore, to rise sooner on this day than on other days; by how much the service of God is to be preferred before all earthly business. For there is no master to serve so good as God; and in the end, no work shall be better rewarded than his service.

    3. When thou art up, consider with thyself what an impure sinner thou art, and into what an holy place thou goest to appear, before the most holy God, who seeth thy heart, and hateth all iniquity and hypocrisy. Examine yourself, therefore, before thou goest to Church, what grievous sins thou hast committed the week past; confess them to God, and earnestly pray for the pardon and forgiveness of them, and so reconcile thyself with God in Christ. Renew thy vows to walk more conscionably, and pray for an increase of those graces which thou hast, and a supply of those which thou wantest. But especially pray that thou mayest have grace to hear the word of God read and preached with profit; and that thou mayest receive the holy sacrament with comfort,  if it be communion day; that God by his Holy Spirit would assist the preacher to speak something that may kill thy sin, and comfort thy soul; – which thou mayest do in this or the like sort: –

The Practice of Piety
by Lewis Bayly.
A Puritan Devotional Manual.
(The Misery of Man pp.191-193)

Meditation Of The Misery Of The Soul In This Life.

The misery of thy soul will more evidently appear, if thou wilt but consider-1st, The felicity she has lost; 2nd, The misery which she has brought upon herself by sin.

1. The felicity lost first, the fruition of the image of God, whereby the soul was like God in knowledge, enabling her perfectly to understand the revealed will of God (Col. 3:10; Rom 12:1); secondly, true holiness, by which she was free from all profane error; thirdly, righteousness, whereby she was able to incline all her natural powers, and to frame uprightly all her actions, proceeding from those powers. With the loss of this divine image, she lost the love of God, and the blessed communion which she had with Him, wherein consists her life and happiness. If the loss of earthly riches vex thee so much, how should not the loss of this divine treasure perplex thee much more?

2. The misery which she drew upon herself, consists in two things:-1st, Sinfulness; 2d, Cursedness.


1. Sinfulness is an universal corruption both of her nature and actions: for her nature is infected with a proneness to every sin continually (Eph. 2:3; Gen. 6:5); the mind is stuffed with vanity (Ron. 12:2; Eph. 4:17); the understanding is darkened with ignorance (1 Cor. 2:14); the will affects nothing but vile and vain things (Phil. 2:3); all her actions are evil (Rom. 3:12); yea, this deformity is so violent, that often in the regenerate soul, the appetite will not obey the government of reason, and the will wanders after, and yields consent to sinful motions. How great, then, is the violence of the appetite and will in the reprobate soul, which still remains in her natural corruption! Hence it is that thy wretched soul is so deformed with sin, defiled with lust, polluted with filthiness, outraged with passions, over-carried with affections, pining with envy, overcharged with gluttony, surfeited with drunkenness, boiling with revenge, transported with rage, and the glorious image of God transformed into the ugly shape of the devil (John 8:44), so far as it once “repented the Lord, that ever he made man,” Gen. 6:6.

From the former flows the other part of the soul’s miseries, called Cursedness (Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10; Psal. 119:21); whereof there are two degress-1st, In part; 2d, in fullness thereof.

1. Cursedness in part is that which is inflicted upon the soul in life and death, and is common to her with the body.

2. The cursedness of the soul in life, is the wrath of God, which lies upon such a creature so far, as that all things, not only calamities, but also very blessings and graces turn to ruin (Rom. 2:4, 5; Jer. 28: 13; Isa. 28:13); terror of conscience drives him from God and his service, that he dares not come to his presence and ordinances (Gen. 3:8, 10; 4:14; Heb. 2:15), but is given up to the slavery of Satan, and to his own lusts and vile affections (Rom. 1:21, 24, 26; Eph. 2:2; Col. 1:13). This is the cursedness of the soul in life. Now follow the cursedness of the soul and body in death.

The Practice of Piety                                         
by Lewis Bayly.
A Puritan Devotional Manual.
(The Misery of Man pp.31-33)

Meditations of the State of a Christian Reconciled to God in Christ

Now let us see how happy a godly man is in his state of renovation, being reconciled to God in Christ.

The godly man whose corrupt nature is renewed by grace in Christ and become a new creature, is blessed in a threefold respect-First, in his life; Secondly, in his death; Thirdly, after death.

I. His blessedness during his life is but in part, and that consists in things:-

1. Because he is conceived of the Spirit (John 3:50), and is born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13), who in Christ his Father (Gal. 4:6, 7; 2 Cor. 9:8:) so that the image of God his Father is renewed in him every day more and more (Eph. 4:2, 3, 13; Cool. 3:10.)


2. He has, for the merits of Christ’s sufferings, all his sins, original and actual, with the guilt and punishment belonging to them (Rom. 4:8, 25; 8:1, 2; 1 Pet. 2:24), freely and fully forgiven him; and all the righteousness of Christ as freely and fully imputed to him (Rom. 4:5, 19;) and so is reconciled to him (2 Cor. 4:19;) and approveth him as righteous in his sight and account (Rom. 8:33, 34.)


3. He is freed from Satan’s bondage (Acts 16:18; Eph. 2:2), and is made a brother of Christ (John 20:17; Rom. 8:20), a fellow-heir of his heavenly kingdom (Rom. 3:17), and a spiritual king and priest (Rev. 1:6), to offer up a spiritual sacrifice to God by Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:5; Mal. 3:17.)


4. God spareth him as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. And this sparing consists in,


(1.) Not taking notice if every fault, but bearing with his infirmities (Exod. 6, 7.) A loving Father will not cast his child out of doors in his sickness.


(2.) Not making his punishment he is chastened, as a great as his deserts (Psal. 103: 10).


(3.) Chastening him moderately when he seeth that he will not by any other means be reclaimed (2 Sam. 7:14, 15; 1 Cor. 11:32.)


(4.) Graciously accepting his endeavours, notwithstanding the imperfection of his obedience; and so preferring the willingness of his mind before the worthiness of his work (2 Cor. 8:12.)


(5.) Turning the course which he deserved to crosses and fatherly corrections; yea, all things, all calamities of his life, death itself, yea, his very sins, to his good (Rom. 8:28; Psal. 89:31, 33; 119: 71; Heb. 12:10, 2 Cor. 121:7; 1 Cor. 15: 54, 55; Heb. 2:14, 15; Luke 22:31, 32; Psal. 51: 13, 14; Rom. 5:20, 21.)


5. God gives him his Holy Spirit, which,


(1.) Sanctifies him by degrees throughout (1 Thess. 5:23), so that he more and more dies to sin and lives to righteousness (Rom. 8:5, 10.)


(2.) Assures him of his adoption, and that he is by grace the child of God (Rom. 8:16.)


(3.) Encourages him to come with boldness and confidence into the presence of God (Heb. 4:16; Eph. 3:12.)


(4.) Moves him without fear to say unto him, Abba Father (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:15, 16.)


(5.) Pours into his heart the gift of sanctified prayer.


(6.) Persuades him that both he and his prayers are accepted and heard of God, for God his mediator’s sake.


(7.) Fills him with, 1st, Peace of conscience (Rom. 5:1; 14:17;) 2nd, Joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom. 14:17:) in comparison whereof all earthly joys seem vain and vile to him.


6. He has a recovery of his sovereignty over the creatures (Psal. 8:5, &c.; Heb. 2:7, 8), which he lost by Adam’s fall; and from thence free liberty (Rom. 14:14; 1 Tim. 4:2, &c.) of using all things which God hath not restrained (1 Cor. 9:19, 20), so that he may use them with a good conscience (1 Cor. 3: 22, 32; Heb. 1:7.) For to all things in heaven and earth he hath a sure title in this life (1 Cor. 3:22;) and he shall have the plenary and peaceable possession of them in the life to come (Matt. 25:34; 1 Pet. 1:4.) Hence it is that all reprobates are but usurpers of all that they possess, and have no place of their own but hell (Acts 1:25.)


7. He has the assurance of God’s fatherly care and protection day and night over him; which care consists in three things:


(1.) In providing all things necessary for his soul and body, concerning this life (Matt. 6:32; 2 Cor. 12:14; Psal. 23: 9, 10), and that which is to come; so that he shall be sure ever either to have enough, or patience to be content with that he hath.


(2.) In that God gives his holy angels, as ministers, a charge to attend upon him always for his good (Heb. 1:14; Psal. 34:7; 91:11;) yea, in danger to pitch their tents about him for his safety wherever he be: yea, God’s protection shall defend him as a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night (Isa. 4:5;) and his providence shall hedge him from the power of the devil (Job 1:10.)


(3.) In that the eyes of the Lord are upon him, and his ears continually open, to see his state (Psal. 34: 15; Gen. 7:1), and to hear his complaint, and in his good time to deliver him out of all his troubles (Psal. 34:19.)

Thus far of the blessed state of the godly and regenerate in this life.

The Practice of Piety
by Lewis Bayly.
A Puritan Devotional Manual.
( pp.45-48)

2. Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in his Death.

When God sends death as his messenger for the regenerate man, he meets him half-way to heave, for his conversation and affection is there before him (Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:2) Death is never strange or fearful to him: not strange, because he died daily-not fearful because whilst he lived, he was dead, and his life was hid with Christ in God (1 Cor. 1:32; Col. 3:3;) to die, therefore, is to him nothing else in effect, but to rest from his labour in this world, to go home to his Father’s house, unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant (Rev. 14:13; 2 Cor. 5:6; John 14:2; Heb. 12:22, &c.) Whilst his body is sick, his mind is sound; for God maketh his bed in sickness, and strengtheneth him with faith and patience, upon his bed of sorrow (Psal.41:3.) And when he begins to enter into the way of all the world, he giveth (like Jacob, Moses, and Joshua) to his children and friends, godly exhortations and counsels, to serve the true God, to worship Him truly all the days of their life (Gen. 49.) His blessed soul breatheth nothing but blessings, and such speeches as savour a sanctified spirit. As his outward man decayeth, so his inward man increaseth, and waxeth stronger; when the speech of his tongue faltereth, the sighs of his heart speak louder unto God; when the sight of eye faileth, the Holy Ghost illuminates him inwardly with abundance of spiritual light. His soul feareth not, but is bold to go out of the body, and to dwell with her Lord (2 Cor. 5:8.) He sigheth out with Paul, Cupio dissolvi, “I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ,” Phil. 1:23. And with David, “As the heart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when I come and appear before God?” Psal. 42:2. He prayeth with the saints, “How long, O Lord, which art holy and true?” Rev. 6:10. “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly,” Rev. 22:10. And when the appointed time of his dissolution is come (Job 14:5), knowing that he goeth to his Father and Redeemer in the assured persuasion of the forgiveness of all his sins, in the Lamb, he sings with blessed old Simeon his Nunc dimittis, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in pace,” (Luke 2:29; Psal. 37:37; Isa. 57:2), and surrenders up his soul, as it were, with his own hands, into the hands of his heavenly Father, saying with David, “Into thy hands, O Father, I commend my soul, for thou hath redeemed me, O Lord thou God of truth,” Psal. 31:5. And saying with Stephen, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” Acts 7:59; he no sooner yields up the ghost, but immediately the holy angels (Matt. 18: 10;Acts 12:15; 27:23) who attended upon him from his birth to his death, carry and accompany his soul into heaven, as they did the soul of Lazarus into Abraham’s bosom (Luke 17:22), which is the kingdom of heaven, whither only good angels and good works do accompany the soul (Matt. 8:11; Luke 13:28; Acts 15:10, 11;Eph. 1:10; Heb. 11:9, 10, 16; 12:22, 23; Luke19:9; 9:31;) the one to deliver their charge (Psal. 91:11; Heb. 1:14;) the other to receive their reward (Rev. 14:13; 22:12.) The body, in convenient time, as the sanctified temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 6:19), the members of Christ (1 Cor. 6:15), nourished by his body (Matt. 26:26), the price of the blood of the Son of God (1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Pet. 1:19), is by his fellow0brethren reverently laid to sleep in the grave as in the bed of Christ (1 Thess. 4: 14; Acts 7:6; 8:2), in an assured hope to awake in the resurrection of the just, at the last day, to be partaker, with the soul, of life and glory everlasting (Dan. 12:2; John 5:28, 29; Luke 14L14; 1 Thess. 4:16:17; Rev. 14:13.) And in this respect not only the souls, but the very bodies of the faithful also are termed blessed.         

The Practice of Piety
by Lewis Bayly.
A Puritan Devotional Manual.
(pp. 48-50)

Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in Heaven

Here my meditation dazzles, and my pen falls out of my hand; the one being not able to conceive, nor the other to describe, that most excellent bliss, and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17; Rom. 8:18)-whereof all the afflictions of this present life are not worthy- which all the elect shall with the blessed Trinity enjoy, from that time that they shall be received with Christ, as joint-heirs (Rom. 8:17) into that everlasting kingdom of joy.

Notwithstanding, we may take a scantling thereof. The holy scriptures thus set forth (to our capacity) the glory of our eternal and heavenly life after death, in four respects-1st,  Of the place; 2nd, Of the object; 3rd, Of the prerogatives of the elect there; 4th,  Of the effects of these prerogatives.

1. Of the Place.

The place is the heaven of heavens, or the third heaven, called paradise (Psal. 19:5; 2 Cor. 12:24;) whither Christ (in his human nature) ascended for above all visible heavens. The bridegroom’s chamber (Psal.19:5; Matt. 25:10), which by the firmament, as by an azured curtain spangled with glittering stars, and glorious planets, is hid, that we cannot behold it with these corruptible eyes of flesh. The Holy Ghost framing himself to our weakness, describes the glory of that place (of which no man can estimate) by such things as are most precious in the estimation of man; and therefore likeneth it to a great and holy city, named the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, &c.), where only God and his people who are saved, and written in the Lamb’s book (ver. 24 & 27), do inhabit; all built of pure gold, like unto clear glass or crystal (ver. 11, 18, 19, 20;) the walls of jasper-stone: the foundations of the walls garnished with twelve manner of precious stones, having twelve gates, each built of one pearl (ver. 21:) three gates towards each of the four corners of the world (ver. 13), as so many porters, that no unclean thing should enter into it (ver. 27.) It is four square (ver. 16), therefore perfect: the length, the breadth, and height of it are equal, 12,000 furlongs every way; therefore glorious and spacious. Through the midst of her streets ever runneth a pure river of the water of life, as clear as crystal (Rev. 22:1); and on the other side the river is the three of life (ver. 2), ever growing, which bears twelve manner of fruits, and gives fruit every month; and the leaves of the three are health to the nations. There is therefore no place so glorious by creation, so beautiful with delectation, so rich in possession, so comfortable for habitation. For there, the King is Christ-the law is love- the honour is light without darkness, mirth without sadness, health without sickness, wealth without want, credit without disgrace, beauty without blemish, ease labour, riches without rust, blessedness without misery, and consolation that never knoweth an end. How truly may we cry out with David, of this city, “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O thou city of God!” (Psal. 137:3; and yet all these things are spoken but according to the weakness of our capacity. For heaven exceedeth all this in glory, so far, as that no tongue is able to express, nor heart of man to conceive, the glory therefore, as witnesseth St. Paul (2 Cor. 12:4; 1 Cor. 2:5), who was in it, and saw it. O let us not then dote so much upon these wooden cottages, and houses of mouldering clay, which are but the tents of ungodliness, and habitation of sinners; but let us look rather, and long for this heavenly city, whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10;) which he, who is not ashamed to be called our God hath prepared for us (Heb. 11:6).

2. Of the object.

The blissful and glorious object of all intellectual and reasonable creatures in heaven is called the Godhead, in Trinity of Persons, without which there is neither joy nor felicity; but the very fullness of joy consisteth in enjoying the same.

This object we shall enjoy two ways: –

1. By a beatific vision of God.

2. By possessing an immediate communion with this divine nature.

The beatifical vision of God is that only that can content the infinite mind of man. For every thing tendeth to its centre of the soul: therefore, like Noah’s dove, she cannot rest nor joy till she return and enjoy him.

All that God bestowed upon Moses could not satisfy his mind, unless he might see the face of God (Exod. 3:13:) therefore the whole church prayeth so earnestly, “God be merciful unto us, and cause his face to shine upon us.” (Psal. 67:1], and 80:1.) When Paul once had seen this blessed sight, he ever after counted all the riches and glory of the world (in respect of it) to be but dung (Phil. 3:8, 11); and all his life after was but a sighing to be out (cupio dissolvi), “I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ.” (Phil. 1:23.) And Christ prayed for all his elect in his last prayer, that they might obtain this blessed vision: “Father, I will that they which thou has given me be (where?) even where I am, (to what end?) that they may behold my glory,” &c. (John 17:14.) If Moses’s face did so shine, when he had been with God but forty days, and seen but his back parts (Exod. 34:29; 33:31), how shall we shine, when we shall see him face to face for ever, and know him as we are known, and as he is! (1 Cor. 13:12; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 John 3:2.) Then shall the soul no longer be termed Marah, bitterness, but Naomi, beautifulness; for the Lord shall turn her short bitterness to an eternal beauty and blessedness (Ruth 1:20.)

The second means to enjoy this object is, by having an immediate and an eternal communion with God in heaven. This we have,-first, by being, as members of Christ, united to his manhood, and as by the manhood, personally united to the Word, we are united to him, as he is God; and, by his Godhead, to the whole Trinity. Reprobates at the last day see God as judge, to punish them; but, for lack of this communion, they shall have neither grace with him, nor glory from him. Fr want of this communion, the devils, when the saw Christ, cried out, Quid nobis tecum? “What have we to do with thee, O Son of the most high God?” (Mark 5:7.) But, by virtue of this communion, the penitent soul may boldly go and say unto Christ, as Ruth unto Boaz (Ruth 3:9), “Spread, O Christ, the wing of the garment of thy mercy over thine handmaid; for thou art my kinsman.” This communion God promised Abraham, when he gave himself for his great reward (Gen. 15:1.) And Christ prayeth for his whole church to obtain it (John 17:21.) This communion St. Paul expresseth in one word, saying that God shall be all in all to us (1 Cor. 15:28.) Indeed, God is now all in all to us; but by means, and in a small measure. But in heaven, God himself immediately, in fullness of measure, without means, will be unto us all the good things that our souls and bodies can wish or desire. He himself will be salvation and joy to our souls, life and health to our bodies, beauty to our eyes, music to our ears, honey to our mouths, perfume to our nostrils, light to our understandings, contentment to our wills, and delight to our hearts. And what can be lacking, where God himself will be the soul of our souls? Yes all the strength, wit, pleasure, virtues, colours, beauties, harmony, and goodness, that are in men, beasts, fishes, fowls, trees, herbs, and all creatures, are nothing but sparkles of those things which are infinite perfection in God. And in his we shall enjoy them in a far more perfect and blessed manner. He himself will then supply their use: nay, the best creatures which serve us now shall not have the honour to serve us then. There will be no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine in that city; for the glory of God doth light it (Rev. 21:23.) No more will there be any need or use of any creature, when we shall enjoy the Creator himself. When therefore, we behold anything that is excellent in any creatures, let us say to ourselves, How much more excellent is he who gave them this excellency!  When we behold the wisdom of men, who overrule creatures stronger than themselves; outrun the sun and moon in discourse, prescribing many years before in what courses they shall be eclipsed; let us say to ourselves, How admirable is the wisdom of God, who made men so wise! When we consider the strength of whales and elephants, the tempest of winds, and terror of thunder, let us say to ourselves, How strong, how mighty, how terrible is that God, that makes these mighty and fearful creatures! When we taste things that are delicately sweet, let us say to ourselves, O how sweet is that God from whom all these creatures have received their sweetness! We behold the admirable colours which are in flowers and birds, and all the lovely beauty of nature, let us say, How fair is that God that made these so fair! And if our loving God hath thus provided us so many excellent delights, for our passage through this Bochim (Judge 2:5), or valley of tears, what are those pleasures which he hath prepared for us, when we shall enter into the palace of our Master’s joy! How shall our souls be there ravished with the love of so lovely a God! So glorious is the object of heavenly saints: so amiable is the sight of our gracious Saviour.

The Practice of Piety
by Lewis Bayly.
A Puritan Devotional Manual.
(pp. 62-66)

Meditations directing a Christian how to apply to himself without delay, the foresaid knowledge of God and himself.

Thou seest, therefore, O man, how wretched and cursed thy state is, by corruption of nature, without Christ! Insomuch, that as the scriptures liken wicked men to lions, bears, bulls, horses, dogs, and such like savage creatures, in their lives, it is certain that the condition of an unregenerate man is in his death more vile than a dog, or the filthiest creature in the world. For the beast being made but for man’s use, when he dies, ends, ends all his miseries with his death; but man, endued with a reasonable and an immortal soul, made after God’s image, to serve God, when he ends the miseries of this life, must account for all his misdeeds, and begin to endure those miseries that never shall know end. No creature but man is liable to yield at his death an account for his life. The brute creatures, not having reason, shall not be required to make any account for their deeds; and good angels, though thy have reason, yet shall they yield no account, bcause they have no sin. And as for evil angels, that are without all hope already condemned, so that they need not make any further accounts: man only in his death must be God’s accountant for his life.

On the other side thou seest, O man, how happy and blessed by estate is, being truly reconciled to God in Christ; in that, through the restoration of God’s image, and thy restitution into thy sovereignty over other creatures, thou art in this life little inferior to the angels, and shalt be in the life to come equal to the angels: yea, in respect to thy nature, exalted by a personal union to the Son of God, and by him to the glory of the Trinity, superior to the angels, a fellow-brother with angels in spiritual grace and everlasting glory.

Thou hast seen how glorious and perfect God is, and how that all thy chief bliss and happiness consists in having an eternal communion with him.

Now, therefore, O impenitent sinner! In the bowels of Christ Jesus I entreat thee, nay I conjure thee, as thou tenderest thine own salvation, seriously to consider with me, how false, how vain, how vile, are those things which still retain and chain thee in this wretched and cursed estate wherein thou livest, and which hinder thee from the favour of God, and the hope of eternal life and happiness.

The Practice of Piety
by Lewis Bayly.
A Puritan Devotional Manual.
(pp. 74-75)

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Titus 2:11
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