A Prayer against Sensuality.
O eternal Father, thou that sittest in heaven invested with
essential glories and divine perfections, fill my soul with so deep a sense of
the excellences of spiritual and heavenly things, that, my affections being
weaned from the pleasures of the world and the false allurements of sin, I may,
with great severity, and the prudence of a holy discipline and strict desires,
with clear resolutions and a free spirit, have my conversations in heaven and
heavenly employments; that being, in affections as in my condition, a pilgrim
and a stranger here, I may covet after and labour for an abiding city, and at
last may enter into and for ever dwell in the celestial Jerusalem, which is the
mother of us all, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Almighty God and gracious Father of men and angels, who
openest thy hand and fillest all things with plenty, and hast provided for thy
servant sufficient to satisfy all my needs; teach me to use thy creatures
soberly and temperately, that I may not, with loads of meat or drink, make the
temptations of my enemy to prevail upon me, or my spirit unapt for the
performance of my duty, or my body healthless, or my affections sensual and
unholy. O my God, never suffer that the blessings which thou givest me may
either minister to sin or sickness, but to health and holiness and
thanksgiving; that in the strength of thy provisions I may cheerfully and
actively and diligently serve thee; that I may worthily feast at thy table
here, and be accounted worthy, through thy grace, to be admitted to thy table
hereafter, at the eternal supper of the Lamb, to sing an hallelujah to God the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.
For Chastity: to be said especially by Unmarried Persons.
Almighty God, our most holy and eternal Father, who art of
pure eyes, and canst behold no uncleanness; let thy gracious and holy Spirit
descend upon thy servant, and reprove the spirit of fornication and
uncleanness, and cast him out; that my body may be a holy temple, and my soul a
sanctuary to entertain the Prince of purities, the holy and eternal Spirit of
God. O, let no impure thoughts pollute that tongue which God hath commanded to
be an organ of his praises; no unholy and unchaste action rend the veil of that
temple where the holy Jesus hath been pleased to enter, and hath chosen for his
habitation: but seal up all my senses from all vain objects, and let them be
entirely possessed with religion, and fortified with prudence, watchfulness,
and mortification; that I, possessing my vessel in holiness, may lay it down
with a holy hope, and receive it again in a joyful resurrection, through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for the Love of God, to be said by Virgins, and Widows,
professed or resolved so to live: and may be used by any one.
Oh holy and purest Jesus, who wert pleased to espouse every
holy soul, and join it to thee with a holy union and mysterious instruments of
religious society and communications; O, fill my soul with religion, and
desires holy as the thoughts of cherubim, passionate beyond the love of women;
that I may love thee as much as ever any creature loved thee, even with all my
soul and all my faculties, and all the degrees of every faculty; let me know no
loves but those of duty and charity, obedience and devotion; that I may for
ever run after thee, who art the King of virgins, and with whom whole kingdoms
are in love, and for whose sake queens have died, and at whose feet kings with
joy have laid their crowns and sceptres. My soul is thing, O dearest Jesus;
thou art my Lord, and hast bound up my eyes and heart from all stranger affections;
give me for my dowry purity and humility, modesty and devotion, charity and
patience, and at last bring me into the bride-chamber to partake of the
felicities, and to lie in the bosom of the Bridegroom to eternal ages, O holy
and sweetest Saviour Jesus. Amen.
A Prayer to be said by Married Persons in behalf of themselves and
O eternal and gracious Father, who hast consecrated the
holy estate of marriage to become mysterious, and to represent the union of
Christ and his church, let thy Holy Spirit so guide me in the doing the duties
of this state, that it may not become a sin unto me; nor that liberty, which
thou hast hallowed by the holy Jesus, become an occasion of licentiousness by
my own weakness and sensuality; and do thou forgive all those irregularities
and too sensual applications which may have, in any degree, discomposed my
spirit and the severity of a Christian. Let me, in all accidents and
circumstances, be severe in my duty towards thee, affectionate and dear to my
wife, (or husband,) a guide and good example to my family, and in all
quietness, sobriety, prudence, and peace, a follower of those holy pairs who
have served thee with godliness and a good testimony. And the blessings of the
eternal God, blessings of the right hand and of the left, be upon the body and
soul of thy servant, my wife, (or husband,) and abide upon her (or him) till
the end of a holy and happy life; and grant that both of us may live together
for ever in the embraces of the holy and eternal Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.
A Prayer for the Grace of Humility.
O holy and most gracious Master and Saviour Jesus, who by
thy example and by thy precept, by the practice of a whole life and frequent
discourses, didst command us to be meek and humble, in imitation of thy
incomparable sweetness and great humility, be pleased to give me the grace, as
thou hast given me the commandment: enable me to do whatsoever thou commandest,
and command whatsoever thou pleasest. O mortify in me all proud thoughts and
vain opinions of myself; let me return to thee the acknowledgment and the
fruits of all those good things thou hast given me, that, by confessing I am
wholly in debt to thee for them, I may not boast myself for what I have
received, and for what I am highly accountable; and for what is my own teach me
to be ashamed and humbled, it being nothing but sin and misery, weakness and
uncleanness. Let me go before my brethren in nothing but in striving to do them
honour and thee glory, never to seek my own praise, never to delight in it when
it is offered: that, despising myself, I may be accepted by thee in the honours
with which thou shalt crown thy humble and despised servants, for Jesus’ sake,
in the kingdom of eternal glory. Amen.
Acts of Humility and Modesty by way of Prayer and Meditation.
Lord, I know that my spirit is light and thorny, my body is
brutish and exposed to sickness; I am constant to folly, and inconstant in holy
purposes. My labours are vain and fruitless; my fortune full of change and
trouble, seldom pleasing, never perfect; my wisdom is folly; being ignorant
even of the parts and passions of my own body; and what am I, O Lord, before
thee, but a miserable person, hugely in debt, not able to pay?
Lord, I am nothing, and I have nothing of myself: I am less
than the least of all thy mercies.
What was I before birth? First, nothing, and then
uncleanness. What during my childhood? Weakness and folly. What in my youth?
Folly still, and passion, lust, and wildness. What in my whole life? A great
sinner, a deceived, and an abused person. Lord, pity me; for it is thy goodness
that I am kept form confusion and amazement, when I consider the misery and
shame of my person, and the defilements of my nature.
Lord, what am I? And, Lord, what art thou? “What is man,
that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou so regardest him?”
How can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean
that is born of a woman? Behold, even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the
stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man that is a worm, and the son
of man which is a worm! Job, xxxv.4, etc.
A Prayer for a contented Spirit, and the Grace of Moderation and
O Almighty God, Father and Lord of all the creatures, who
hast disposed all things and all chances so as may best glorify thy wisdom, and
serve the ends of thy justice, and magnify thy mercy by secret and
indiscernible ways, bringing good out of evil; I most humbly beseech thee to
give me wisdom from above, that I may adore thee and admire thy ways and
footsteps, which are in the great deep and not to be searched out; teach me to
submit to thy providence in all things, to be content in all changes of person
and conditions, to be temperate in prosperity, and to read my duty in the lines
of thy mercy; and in adversity to be meek, patient, and resigned; and to look
through the cloud, that I may wait for the consolation of the Lord and the day
of redemption; in the meantime doing my duty with an unwearied diligence, and
an undisturbed resolution, having no fondness for my hopes in heaven and the
rewards of holy living, and being strengthened with the spirit of the inner
man, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.