Sirs, read these holy memorials, and let it not be said of us, according to the complaint which the Talmuds thus utter: Si prisci fuerunt Filii Regum, nos sumus Filii Hominum Vulgarium; et si prisci fuerunt Homines Vulgares, nos sumus velut Asini.* Let it not be said, as it uses [sic] to be by the Jewish Rabbi's, Elegantior est Sermo familiaris Putrum, quam Lex Filiorum.†
* If the ancients were the sons of kings, we are the sons of common men; and if the ancients were common men, we are mere asses.
† The familiar speech of the fathers is more elegant than the law of their sons.
Here are some extracts worth pondering:
I. I HAVE firmly purposed, (by God's grace,) to make my whole life, a meditation of a better life, and godliness in every part; that I may from point to point, and from step to step, with more watchfulness, walk with the Lord. -- Oh, the infinite gain of it! No small help hereto is daily meditation and often conference. Therefore, since the Lord hath given me to see in some sort the coldness of the half-service that is done to his majesty, by the most, and even by my self, I renew my covenant more firmly with the Lord, to come nearer unto the practice of godliness, and oftener more firmly with the Lord, to come nearer unto the practice of godliness, and oftener to have my conversation in heaven, my mind seldomer and more lightly set upon the things of this life, to give to my self less liberty in the secretest and smallest provocations to evil, and to endeavour after a more continual watch from thing to thing, that as much as may be I may walk with the Lord for the time of my abiding here below.A FORM OF DIRECTION.
II. This resolutely determine, That God be always my glory through the day; and, as occasion shall be offered, help forward such as shall repair to me, or among whom, by God's providence, I shall come: and these two being regarded, that I may tend my own good, going forward, (my own heart, I mean, calling and life, and my family and charge) looking for my change, and preparing for the cross -- yea, for death it self: and to like little of mine estate, when I shall not sensibly find it thus with me: and whiles God affordeth me peace, health, liberty, an heart delighting in him, outward blessings with the same, to beware that godliness seem not pleasant to me, for earthly commodity, but for it self: if in this course, or any part of it, I should halt, or mislike, not to admit of any such deceit: and for the maintenance of this course, to take my part in all the good helps, appointed by God for the same; as these: first, to begin the day with meditation, thanksgiving, confession and prayer: to put on my armour: to watch and pray oft and earnestly in the day for holding fast this course: to hearten on my self hereto by mine own experience (whoc have ever seen, that it goeth well with those "which walk after this rule," 1 Pet. iii. 13; Gal. vi. 16,) and by the example of others (Heb. xiii. 7). And for the better helping my self forward, still in this course, my purpose and desire is, to learn humility and meekness more and more, by God's chastisements, and encourage my self to this course of life, by his daily blessings and mercies: and to make the same use of all exericses in my family. And faithfully to peruse and examine the several parts of my life every evening, how this course hath been kept of me, where it hath to keep it still, where it hath not, to seek pardon and recovery; and all behaviour that will not stand with this, to hold me from it, as from bane.
XIII. The worst day wherein a man keeps his watch, and holds to the daily rules of directions, is freer from danger, and brings more safety than the best day, wherein this is not known or practised.
XVI. It is good for a man to delight in that wherein he may be bold to delight without repentance: and that is, to be always doing or seeking occasion to do some good. The Lord help me herein!
XVII. When God hedgeth in a man with many mercies, and gives him a comfortable condition, it is good to acknowledge it often, and be highly thankful for it. Else God may soon bring a man so low, as he would think that state happy that he was in before, if now he had it again. Therefore, God make me wise!
XXI. Look that I lie not down in bed but in peace with God any night, and never my heart rest until it relent truly for any thing that hath passed amiss in the day.
XXIII. Buffetings of Satan, though they be grievous, yet they are a very good medicine against pride and security.
XXIV. Christ's death, and God's mercy, is not sweet, but where sin is sour.
XL. How much better is it to resist sin, when we be tempted thereunto, than to repent of it after we have committed it!