By Lewis Bayly
O Lord most high, O God eternal, all whose works are glorious, and whose thoughts are very deep: there can be no better thing, than to praise thy name, and to declare thy loving-kindness in the morning, on thy holy and blessed Sabbath day! For it is thy will and commandment, that we should sanctify this day in thy service and praise: and in the thankful remembrance, as of the creation of the world by the power of thy word; so of the redemption of mankind by the death of thy Son. Thine, O Lord, I confess, is greatness and power, and glory and victory, and praise; for all that is in heaven and earth is thine: thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou excellest as head over all.
Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all, and in thine hand is power and strength; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give grace unto all. Now, therefore, O my God, I praise thy glorious name, that whereas I, a wretched sinner, having so many ways provoked thy majesty to anger and displeasure; thou, notwithstanding, of thy favour and goodness, passing by my profaneness. and infirmities, hast vouchsafed to add this Sabbath again to the number of my days. And vouchsafe, O heavenly Father, for the merits of Jesus Christ thy Son, whose glorious resurrection thy whole church celebrateth this day, to pardon and forgive me all my sins and misdeeds. Especially, O Lord-[Here thou mayest confess whatsoever sin of the last week clogs thy conscience]-cleanse my soul from those filthy sins, with the blood of thy most pure and undefiled Lamb, which taketh away the sins of the world. And let thy Holy Spirit more and more subdue my corruptions, that I may be renewed after thy own image, to serve thee in newness of life, and holiness of conversation.
And as of thy mercy thou hast brought me to the beginning of this blessed day; so I beseech thee make it a day of reconciliation between my sinful soul and thy divine majesty. Give me grace to make it a day of repentance unto thee, that thy goodness may seal it to be a day of pardon unto me; and that I may remember that the keeping holy of this day is a commandment which thy own finger hath written; that on this day I might meditate on the glorious works of our creation and redemption, and learn how to know and keep all the rest of thy holy laws and commandments. And when anon, I shall, with the rest of the holy assembly, appear before thy presence in thy house, to offer unto thee our morning sacrifice of praise and prayer, and to hear what thy Spirit, by the preaching of thy word, shall speak unto thy servant, O let not my sins stand as a cloud to stop my prayers from ascending unto thee, or to keep back thy grace from descending by thy word into my heart. I know, O Lord, and tremble to think, that three parts of the good seed falls upon bad ground.
O let not my heart be like the highway, which through hardness, and want of true understanding, receives not the seed, till the evil one cometh and catcheth it away: nor like to the stony ground, which heareth with joy for a time, but falleth away as soon as persecution ariseth for the Gospel's sake: nor like the thorny ground, which by the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choketh the word which it heareth, and makes it altogether unfruitful; but that like unto the good ground, I may hear thy word, with an honest and good heart understand it, and keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience, in that measure that thy wisdom shall think meet for thy glory, and mine everlasting comfort.
Open likewise, I beseech thee, O Lord, the door of utterance unto thy faithful servant, whom thou hast sent unto us to open our eyes, that we may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God: that we may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith in Christ. And give me grace to submit myself unto his ministry, as well when he terrifieth me with judgments, as when he comforteth me with thy mercies; and that I may have him in singular love for his works' sake; because he watcheth for my soul as he that must give an account for the same unto his master. And give me grace to behave myself in the holy congregation with comeliness and reverence, as in thy presence, and in the sight of thy holy angels: keep me from drowsiness and sleeping, and from all wandering thoughts, and worldly imaginations. Sanctify my memory, that it may be apt to receive, and firm to remember, those good and profitable doctrines which shall be taught unto us out of thy word.
And that through the assistance of thy Holy Spirit, I may put the same lessons in practice for my direction in prosperity, for my consolation in misery, for the amendment of my life, and the glory of thy name. And that this day which godless and profane persons spend in their own lusts and pleasures, I, as one of thy obedient servants, may make my chief delight to consecrate to thy glory and honour, not doing mine own ways, nor seeking mine own will, nor speaking a vain word; but that, ceasing from the works of sin as well as from the works of my ordinary calling, I may, through thy blessing, feel in my heart the beginning of that eternal Sabbath, which in unspeakable joy and glory I shall celebrate with saints and angels, to thy praise and worship, in thy heavenly kingdom for evermore. All which I humbly crave at thy hands, in the name and mediation of my Lord Jesus, in that form of prayer which he hath taught me:-"Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name," &c.
Having thus in private prepared thy own soul, if thou hast the charge of a family, call all thy household together, read a chapter, and pray as in the week-days: but remember so to despatch these private preparations and duties, as that thou and thy family may be in the church before the beginning of prayers; else your private exercises are rather a hindrance than a preparation. And as thou and thy household do go in all reverence towards the church, let every one meditate thus with himself:-