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Practice of Piety 30 - Meditations for Household Piety.

By Lewis Bayly


      1. If thou be called to the government of a family, thou must not hold it sufficient to serve God and live uprightly in thy own person, unless thou cause all under thy charge to do the same with thee. For the performance of this duty God was so well pleased with Abraham, that he would not hide from him his counsel: "For," saith God, "I know him that he will command his sons and his household after him that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that he hath spoken unto him." (Gen. xviii. 19.) And Abraham had 318 men-servants, which were thus born and catechised in his house (Gen. xiv. 14;) with whose help he rescued also his nephew Lot from the captivity of his enemies. And religiously valiant Joshua protesteth before all the people, that if they all would fell away from the true worship of God, yet that he and his house would serve the Lord (Josh. xxiv. 15.) And God himself gives a special charge to all householders, that they instruct their family in his word, and train them up in his fear and service: "These words which I command thee this day shall be in thy heart, and thou shalt whet them continually upon thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou tarriest in thine house, and as thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up," &c. "Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God and serve him." (Deut. vi. 6, 7.) David, according to this law, had so ordered his family, that no deceitful person should dwell in his house, but such as would serve God and walk in his way (Psal. ci. 6, 7.). And religious Esther had taught her maids to serve God in fasting and prayer (Esth. iv. 16.) And, the more to further thy family in the zeal of religion, settle ever thy chiefest affection on those whom thou shalt perceive to be best addicted to true religion. This also will turn to thine own advantage in a double respect-First, God will the rather bless and prosper the labour and handiwork of such godly servants; for Laban perceived that God blessed him for Jacob's sake (Gen. xxx. 27;) and Potiphar saw that the Lord made all that Joseph did to prosper in his hand (Gen. xxxix. 3;) yea, when innocent Joseph was cast into prison, his keeper saw that whatsoever he did the Lord made it to prosper (Gen. xxxix. 22, 23;) and therefore the keeper committed all the charge of the prisoners into Joseph's hand. Secondly, the trulier a man serves God, the more faithfully he will serve thee.

      2. If every householder were thus careful, according to his duty, to bring up his children and family in the service and fear of God in his own house, then the house of God should be better filled, and the Lord's table more frequented every Sabbath day, and the pastors' public preaching and labour would take more effect than it doth;-the streets of towns and cities would not abound with so many drunkards, swearers, whoremongers, and profane scorners of true piety and religion;-our courts would not be so full of contentions, wrangling suits, and unchristian debates;-and the prisons would not be every session so full of thieves, robbers, traitors, murderers. But alas! most householders make no other use of their servants than they do of their beasts: whilst they may have their bodies to do their service, they care not if their souls serve the devil. Yet the common complaint is, that faithful and good servants are scarce to be found. True, but the reason is, because there are so many profane and irreligious masters; for the example and instruction of a godly and religious master will make a good and a faithful servant; as may witness the examples of Abraham, Joshua, David, Cornelius, &c., who had good servants because they were religious masters, such as were careful to make their servants God's servants.

      It is the chief labour and care of most men to raise and to advance their house: yet let them "rise up early and lie down late, and eat the bread of carefulness," all will be but in vain; for "except the Lord build a house," that is, raise up a family, "they labour in vain." (Psal. cxxvii. 1, 2.) For God hath sealed this as an irrevocable decree, that he will pour out his wrath upon the families that call not upon his name (Jer. x. 25;) yea, "God will take the wicked, and pluck him out of his tabernacle, and root him out of the land," &c. (Psal. lii. 5;) yea, when his iniquities are full (Gen. xv. 16), he will make the land to spue out every Canaanite (Lev. xviii. 25.) Religion, then, and the service of God in a family, is the best building, and surest entailing of house and land to a man and his posterity; for "the righteous man shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever." (Psal. xxxvii. 29.)

      Therefore, if thou desirest to have the blessing of God upon thyself and upon thy family, either before or after thy own private devotions, call every morning all the family to some convenient room; and first either read to them thyself a chapter in the word of God, or cause it to be read distinctly by some other. If leisure serve, thou mayest admonish them of some remarkable notes; and then kneeling down with them in reverent sort, as is before described, pray with them in this manner:-

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See Also:
   Practice of Piety 1 - Directing a Christian How to Walk, that He May Please God.
   Practice of Piety 2 - A Plain Description of the Essence and Attributes of God
   Practice of Piety 3 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man Not Reconciled to God in Christ.
   Practice of Piety 4 - Meditations of the Miseries of Man from Infancy to Old Age.
   Practice of Piety 5 - Meditations of the Misery of the Soul in this Life.
   Practice of Piety 6 - Meditations of the Misery of the Body and Soul in Death.
   Practice of Piety 7 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man after Death.
   Practice of Piety 8 - Blessedness of the Regenerate
   Practice of Piety 9 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in his Death.
   Practice of Piety 10 - Meditations of the blessed state of the Regenerate Man after Death.
   Practice of Piety 11 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in Heaven.
   Practice of Piety 12 - Of the Prerogatives which the Elect shall enjoy in Heaven.
   Practice of Piety 13 - Of the Effects of those Prerogatives.
   Practice of Piety 14 - Meditations directing a Christian how to apply to himself.
   Practice of Piety 15 - Meditations on the Hindrances which Keep a Sinner from Piety.
   Practice of Piety 16 - How a Private Man Must Begin the Morning with Piety.
   Practice of Piety 17 - Meditations for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 18 - Brief Directions How to Read the Holy Scriptures Once A Year
   Practice of Piety 19 - A Prayer for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 20 - Meditations to stir us up to Morning Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 21 - Another short Morning Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 22 - Farther Meditations to stir up to Prayer in the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 23 - A brief Prayer for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 24 - Meditations Directing a Christian How To Walk All the Day with God
   Practice of Piety 25 - Secondly, for thy Words.
   Practice of Piety 26 - Thirdly, for thy Actions.
   Practice of Piety 27 - Meditations for the Evening.
   Practice of Piety 28 - A Prayer for the Evening.
   Practice of Piety 29 - Another shorter Evening Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 30 - Meditations for Household Piety.
   Practice of Piety 31 - Morning Prayer for a Family.
   Practice of Piety 32 - The Practice of Piety at Meals, and the Manner of Eating.
   Practice of Piety 33 - Grace before Meat.
   Practice of Piety 34 - The Practice of Piety at Evening.
   Practice of Piety 35 - Evening Prayer for a Family.
   Practice of Piety 36 - Meditations of the True Manner of Practising Piety on the Sabbath-Day.
   Practice of Piety 37 - Ten Reasons demonstrating the Commandment of the Sabbath to be moral.
   Practice of Piety 38 - The True Manner of Keeping Holy the Lord's Day.
   Practice of Piety 39 - A Morning Prayer for the Sabbath-day.
   Practice of Piety 40 - Duties in the Holy Assembly.
   Practice of Piety 41 - A private Evening Prayer for the Lord's day.
   Practice of Piety 42 - Of the Practice of Piety in Fasting.
   Practice of Piety 43 - Of the Public Fast.
   Practice of Piety 44 - Of the Practice of Piety in Holy Feasting.
   Practice of Piety 45 - Of Preparation.
   Practice of Piety 46 - Of the Worthiness of the Sacrament.
   Practice of Piety 47 - Of the first End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 48 - Of the second End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 49 - Of the third End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 50 - Of the fourth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 51 - The fifth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 52 - The sixth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 53 - Of the seventh End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 54 - A Confession of Sins before the receiving of the Holy Communion.
   Practice of Piety 55 - Of the Means whereby thou mayest become a worthy Receiver.
   Practice of Piety 56 - Of the Second sort of Duties which a worthy Communicant is to perform
   Practice of Piety 57 - A sweet Soliloquy to be said between the Consecration and Sacrament.
   Practice of Piety 58 - Duties After Communion.
   Practice of Piety 59 - The Practice of Piety in Glorifying God in the Time of Sickness or Death
   Practice of Piety 60 - A Prayer when one begins to be sick.
   Practice of Piety 61 - A Prayer before taking of Medicine.
   Practice of Piety 62 - Meditations for the Sick.
   Practice of Piety 63 - Meditations for One That Is Like to Die.
   Practice of Piety 64 - A Prayer to Be Said of One That Is Like to Die.
   Practice of Piety 65 - Meditations against Despair, or doubting of God's Mercy.
   Practice of Piety 66 - An Admonition to them who come to visit the Sick.
   Practice of Piety 67 - A Prayer to be said for the Sick by them who visit him.
   Practice of Piety 68 - Consolations Against Impatience in Sickness.
   Practice of Piety 69 - Consolations Against the Fear of Death
   Practice of Piety 70 - Seven Sanctified Thoughts and Mournful Sighs of a Sick Man Ready to Die.
   Practice of Piety 71 - Of the Comfortable Assurance of God's Forgiveness of Sins.
   Practice of Piety 72 - Meditations of Martyrdom.
   Practice of Piety 73 - A Divine Colloquy Between the Soul and Her Savior
   Practice of Piety 74 - The Soul's Soliloquy, ravished in contemplation of the Passion of our Lord.

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