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thou lovest and takest care of all thy creatures, but more especially thy faithful servants, who repose all their hope and confidence in thy mercy, and in this confidence do cheerfully commit themselves, and all their affairs to thee. In this persuasion I most humbly pray thee, that thou wouldst deal with me not according to my sins, which have made me obnoxious to thy angry justice, but after thy own great mercy, which far exceeds not only mine, but the whole world's offences. And may it please thee, when thou thinkest fit to scourge my outward man, to strengthen my inward man with the grace of constancy and unwearied patience: that even in the bitterest anguish of my soul, thy goodness may still be most thankfully, acknowledged, and thy praise at no time depart out of my mouth. Pity me, O Lord, and help me, according to what thou seest necessary for me both in body and soul. Thou knowest all things, and canst do all things, and livest for ever, and therefore wilt, I hope, consider my need and my infirmities, and extend mercy and relief in thy own time, and thy own way, which is always sure to be best and most expedient for us.
O LORD. JESUS Christ, Son of the living God, who didst, with hands stretched out upon the cross, submit to drink the bitter cup, of sufferings inconceivable, for the redemption of all mankind, vouchsafe to hear and help me this day: behold a wretch in extreme poverty, approaching to the endless trea. sure of thy rich mercy! O send me not away empty and despised! I come with all the cravings of spi. ritual hunger; let my soul, I pray thee, be filled with good things; at least deny me not some sustenance. .
And, first of all, most holy Saviour, I freely turn my own accuser, and do confess against myself, all those transgressions and pollutions which render me unworthy of the least of thy mercies. · Behold I was shapen in wickedness, and in sin did my mother conceive and bear me: but if from this original defilement thou hast been pleased to wash and sanctify me, with shame I own I have defiled myself anew with more and greater, and more inexcusable sins. Those I was born in, I could not prevent: they were not my fault so much as my misfortune; but the filth I have wallowed in since, was entirely of my own choice and contracting, and the transgressions I am most concerned for, have been in the strictest sense my proper act and deed.
Nay, to add yet more to my confusion, I cannot but call to mind the great advantages of doing better, which thou, according to thy wonted mercy, hast been pleased to afford me. Thou hast separated me from the conversation of sinners, and put into my heart good resolutions of avoiding their seducements, and following thee; of assembling with the generation of them that seek thy face, and walk in the paths of righteousness; of abandoning a sensual, and devoting myself to a mortified and spiritual and divine life. And I, insensible and ungrateful wretch that I am, in return for such inestimable benefits, have, even since my entrance upon this better course, done many and grievous things against thy holy laws, and my own good intentions. Instead of amending and forsaking my sins, I have added greatly to their number. Thus have I dishonoured my God, and stained and defaced that image of his, in which I was created, with pride and vain-glory, and many other natural deformities, with the dismal prospect of which my poor soul is tormented and afflicted, wounded and destroyed.
Behold, O Lord, my wickednesses are gone over my head, and are become like a sore burden, too heavy for me to bear. And unless thou, whose property is always to spare, and to have mercy, be pleased to put forth thy hand, and support me from sinking, I shall be irrecoverably lost, and swallowed up in the great deep. Hearken, O Lord, to my cry; look down and behold my misery, how proudly the adversary of souls insults against me, saying, God hath forsaken him, I will pursue him, and take him, for there is none to deliver him. But thou, O Lord, how long wilt thou forget me? Turn, I beseech thee, and deliver my soul; O save me for thy mercies' sake. Have compassion on thy child, whom thou hast made such, at the expense of infinite
nespedient: Whave sinned tual and be natural,
travail and pain, and do not so far remember my wickedness, as to forget thy own goodness. What father is he, who will refuse to rescue his son from destruction ? Or, what son is he who never offends, and whom the most affectionate parent chasteneth not with the rod of his love?
Consider, therefore, O my Lord and Father, that though I am a sinner, I am still thy soul, I cannot cease to be so by a double title, for thou art the author and giver, not only of my first and natural, but of my second, my spiritual and better life. Since therefore I have sinned, correct me as thou seest expedient: but when thy corrections have reformed me, deliver me up to thy Son. Can a mother forget the fruit of her womb? Nay, though she should forget, yet thou, our kinder Father, hast declared, that thou wilt not forget thy children. Behold I cry, and thou hearkenest not; I am tormented, and thou comfortest me not. What shall I do, or to whom shall I betake myself, when destitute of my only support, and cast out of the sight of thine eyes? O wretched creature! how great is the happiness from which, how great is the misery into which I am fallen! Whither was I going, and whither am I at last come? Where am I, and where am I not? What bliss was presented before me, and what horrors do I groan under! I aimed at peace and joy, but behold perplexity and misery! I die, and my Jesus is not with me; and sure better it were for me not to be at all, than to be without my Jesus; better not to live, than to live without Him, who is the very life of my life.
But, O my dearest Jesus, where are thy tender mercies, and thy loving kindnesses which have been ever of old ? Will the Lord keep his anger for ever, and will he be no more intreated ? Be favourable, I beseech thee, and turn not now away thy face from him, for whose redemption thou didst not turn it away heretofore from shame and spitting. I confess, O Lord, that I am a sinner, a great and griev. ous sinner: my conscience reproaches me with guilt continually, and sets before mine eyes that hell and damnation, which, I am sadly sensible, are the deserved wages of my evil doings. I know too no remorse, no repentance of mine can be a sufficient satisfaction to thy offended justice; and therefore I take sanctuary in thy mercy alone; that mercy which can never be overpowered by any greatness, any number of offences. Do not, I beseech thee, most merciful Lord, still write bitter things against me, nor enter into judgment with thy servant, but, according to the multitude of thy mercies blot out all my offences. O what will become of me at that dreadful day, when the books of all consciences shall be laid open, and the Judge shall say of me, this is the man, and these are are his works! What shall I do, or whither shall I flee, when the heavens shall declare my unrighteousness, and the earth shall rise up against, and open her mouth upon me? Alas! I shall not have one word to allege in my own vindication or excuse, no plea to make in bar to sentence passing upon me; but, with a guilty and dejected countenance, stand trembling and amazed before thy judgment seat.