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Practice of Piety

By Lewis Bayly

Table of Contents

   1 - Directing a Christian How to Walk, that He May Please God. - Whoever thou art that lookest into this book, never undertake to read it, unless thou first resolvest to become from thine heart an unfeigned Practiti
   2 - A Plain Description of the Essence and Attributes of God - OUT OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURE, SO FAR AS EVERY CHRISTIAN MUST COMPETENTLY KNOW, AND NECESSARILY BELIEVE, THAT WILL BE SAVES. Although no creature ca
   3 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man Not Reconciled to God in Christ. - O wretched Man! where shall I begin to describe thine endless misery, who art condemned as soon as conceived; and adjudged to eternal death, before th
   4 - Meditations of the Miseries of Man from Infancy to Old Age. - What wast thou, being an infant, but an helpless unconscious creature, having the human form, but without speech or reason? Thou wast born in the stai
   5 - Meditations of the Misery of the Soul in this Life. - The misery of thy soul will more evidently appear, if thou wilt but consider-1st, The felicity she has lost; 2d, The misery which she has brought upon
   6 - Meditations of the Misery of the Body and Soul in Death. - After that the aged man has conflicted with long sickness, and having endured the brunt of pain, should now expect some ease, in comes death, nature's
   7 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man after Death. - Meditations of the Misery of a Man after Death, which is the fulness of Cursedness. The fulness of cursedness, when it falls upon a creature, not a
   8 - Blessedness of the Regenerate - Now let us see how happy a godly man is in his state of renovation, being reconciled to God in Christ. The godly man whose corrupt nature is renewe
   9 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in his Death. - When God sends death as his messenger for the regenerate man, he meets him half-way to heaven, for his conversation and affection is there before him
   10 - Meditations of the blessed state of the Regenerate Man after Death. - This estate has three degrees:-1st, From the day of death to the resurrection; 2d, From the resurrection to the pronouncing of the sentence; 3d, After
   11 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in Heaven. - Here my meditation dazzles, and my pen falls out of my hand; the one being not able to conceive, nor the other to describe, that most excellent bliss,
   12 - Of the Prerogatives which the Elect shall enjoy in Heaven. - By reason of this communion with God, the elect in heaven shall have four superexcellent prerogatives:- 1. They shall have the kingdom of heaven fo
   13 - Of the Effects of those Prerogatives. - From these prerogatives there will arise to the elect in heaven, five notable effects:- 1. They shall know God with a perfect knowledge (1 Cor. i.
   14 - Meditations directing a Christian how to apply to himself. - Meditations directing a Christian how to apply to himself, without delay, the foresaid knowledge of God and himself. Thou seest, therefore, O man,
   15 - Meditations on the Hindrances which Keep a Sinner from Piety. - Those hindrances are chiefly seven:- I. An ignorant mistaking of the true meaning of certain places of the holy Scriptures, and some other chief gr
   16 - How a Private Man Must Begin the Morning with Piety. - As soon as ever thou awakest in the morning, keep the door of thy heart fast shut, that no earthly thought may enter, before that God come in first; a
   17 - Meditations for the Morning. - 1. Almighty God can, in the resurrection, as easily raise up thy body out of the grave, from the sleep of death, as he hath this morning wakened thee
   18 - Brief Directions How to Read the Holy Scriptures Once A Year - BRIEF DIRECTIONS HOW TO READ THE HOLY SCRIPTURES ONCE EVERY YEAR OVER, WITH EASE, PROFIT, AND REVERENCE. But forasmuch, that as faith is the soul,
   19 - A Prayer for the Morning. - O most mighty and glorious God! full of incomprehensible power and majesty; whose glory the very heaven of heavens is not able to contain! Look down f
   20 - Meditations to stir us up to Morning Prayer. - 1. If, when thou art about to pray, Satan shall suggest that thy prayers are too long, and that therefore it were better either to omit prayers, or el
   21 - Another short Morning Prayer. - O most gracious God, and merciful Father! I thine unworthy servant do here acknowledge that as I have been born in sin, so I have lived in iniquity, a
   22 - Farther Meditations to stir up to Prayer in the Morning. - Think not any business or haste, though never so great, a sufficient excuse to omit prayer in the morning: But meditate- 1. That the greater thy bu
   23 - A brief Prayer for the Morning. - O merciful Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, I beseech thee forgive me all my known and secret sins which in thought, word, or deed, I have committed a
   24 - Meditations Directing a Christian How To Walk All the Day with God - Having thus begun, keep all the day after as diligent a watch as thou canst over all thy thoughts, words, and actions, which thou mayest easily do, by
   25 - Secondly, for thy Words. - 1. Remember, that thou must answer for every idle word, that in multiloquy, the wisest man shall overshoot himself. Avoid, therefore, all tedious and
   26 - Thirdly, for thy Actions. - 1. Do no evil, though thou mightest; for God will not suffer the least sin, without bitter repentance, to escape unpunished. Leave not undone any good
   27 - Meditations for the Evening. - At evening, when thou preparest thyself to take thy rest, meditate on these few points:- 1. That seeing thy days are numbered (Psal. xc.; Job xiv.
   28 - A Prayer for the Evening. - O most gracious God and loving Father, who art about my bed and knowest my down-lying and my uprising, and art near unto all that call upon thee in tr
   29 - Another shorter Evening Prayer. - O eternal God and heavenly Father, if I were not taught and assured by the promises of thy gospel, and the examples of Peter, Mary Magdalene, the publ
   30 - Meditations for Household Piety. - 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 ca
   31 - Morning Prayer for a Family. - O Lord our God and heavenly Father, who art the only Creator and Governor of heaven and earth, and all things contained therein, we confess that we ar
   32 - The Practice of Piety at Meals, and the Manner of Eating. - Before dinner and supper, when the table is covered, ponder with thyself upon these meditations; to work a deeper impression in thy heart of God's fat
   33 - Grace before Meat. - O most gracious God, and loving Father, who feedest all creatures living, which depend upon thy divine providence, we beseech thee, sanctify these cre
   34 - The Practice of Piety at Evening. - At evening when the due time of repairing to rest approaches, call together again all thy family; read a chapter in the same manner that was prescribe
   35 - Evening Prayer for a Family. - O eternal God and most gracious Father, we thine unworthy servants here assembled, do cast down ourselves at the footstool of thy grace, acknowledging
   36 - Meditations of the True Manner of Practising Piety on the Sabbath-Day. - Almighty God will have himself worshipped, not only in a private manner by private persons and families, but also in a more public sort, of all the go
   37 - Ten Reasons demonstrating the Commandment of the Sabbath to be moral. - 1. Because all the reasons of this commandment are moral and perpetual; and God has bound us to the obedience of this commandment with more forcible r
   38 - The True Manner of Keeping Holy the Lord's Day. - Consecration of the Sabbath's Rest Now the sanctifying of the Sabbath consists in two things-First, In resting from all servile and common business
   39 - A Morning Prayer for the Sabbath-day. - 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
   40 - Duties in the Holy Assembly. - Things to be meditated on as thou goest to the Church. 1. That thou art going to the court of the Lord, and to speak with the great God by prayer;
   41 - A private Evening Prayer for the Lord's day. - O holy, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth! Suffer me, who am but dust and ashes, to speak unto thy most glorious majesty. I know that thou art a consumin
   42 - Of the Practice of Piety in Fasting. - There are divers kinds of fasting-First, A constrained fast, as when men either have not food to eat, as in the famine of Samaria (2 Kings vi. 25;) or
   43 - Of the Public Fast. - A public fast is when, by the authority of the magistrate (Jonah iii. 7; 2 Chron. xx. 3; Ezra viii. 21), either the whole church within his dominion,
   44 - Of the Practice of Piety in Holy Feasting. - Holy feasting is a solemn thanksgiving, appointed by authority, to be rendered to God on some special day, for some extraordinary blessings or deliver
   45 - Of Preparation. - That a Christian ought necessarily to prepare himself before he presume to be a partaker of the holy communion, may evidently appear by five reasons:-
   46 - Of the Worthiness of the Sacrament. - The worthiness of this sacrament is considered three ways: First, By the majesty of the author ordaining; Secondly, By the preciousness of the parts o
   47 - Of the first End of the Lord's Supper. - 1. To keep Christians in a continual remembrance of that propitiatory sacrifice which Christ, once for all, offered by his death upon the cross, to re
   48 - Of the second End of the Lord's Supper. - 2. To confirm our faith; for God by this sacrament doth signify and seal unto us from heaven, that according to the promise and new covenant which he
   49 - Of the third End of the Lord's Supper. - 3. To be a pledge and symbol of the most near and effectual communion which Christians have with Christ. "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it no
   50 - Of the fourth End of the Lord's Supper. - 4. To feed the souls of the faithful, in the assured hope of life everlasting. For this sacrament is a sign and pledge, to as many as shall receive th
   51 - The fifth End of the Lord's Supper. - 5. To be an assured pledge unto us of our resurrection. The resurrection of a Christian is twofold: First, The spiritual resurrection of our souls, in
   52 - The sixth End of the Lord's Supper. - 6. To seal to us the assurance of everlasting life. Oh what more wished or loved than life! Or what do all men naturally either fear or abhor more tha
   53 - Of the seventh End of the Lord's Supper. - 7. To bind all Christians, as it were, by an oath of fidelity, to serve the one only true God; and to admit no other propitiatory sacrifice for sins,
   54 - A Confession of Sins before the receiving of the Holy Communion. - O God and heavenly Father, when I consider the goodness which thou hast ever shewed unto me, and the wickedness which I have committed against Heaven
   55 - Of the Means whereby thou mayest become a worthy Receiver. - These means are duties of two sorts; the former respecting God, the latter, our neighbour. Those which respect God are three-First, Sound knowledge; s
   56 - Of the Second sort of Duties which a worthy Communicant is to perform - Of the Second sort of Duties which a worthy Communicant is to perform at the receiving of the Lord's Supper, called Meditation. This exercise of sp
   57 - A sweet Soliloquy to be said between the Consecration and Sacrament. - Is it true indeed, that God will dwell on earth? Behold the heaven, and the heaven of heavens are not able to contain thee; how much more unable is th
   58 - Duties After Communion. - 1. Of the Duties which we are to perform after receiving the holy Communion, called Action or Practice. The duty which we are to perform after the
   59 - The Practice of Piety in Glorifying God in the Time of Sickness or Death - As soon as thou perceivest thyself to be visited with any sickness, meditate with thyself: 1. That "misery cometh not forth of the dust; neither do
   60 - A Prayer when one begins to be sick. - O most righteous Judge, yet in Jesus Christ my gracious Father! I, wretched sinner, do here return unto thee, though driven with pain and sickness, li
   61 - A Prayer before taking of Medicine. - O Merciful Father, who art the Lord of health and of sickness, of life and of death; who killest and makest alive; who bringest down to the grave and
   62 - Meditations for the Sick. - Whilst thy sickness remains, use often, for thy comfort, these few meditations, taken from the ends wherefore God sendeth afflictions to his children.
   63 - Meditations for One That Is Like to Die. - If thy sickness be like to increase unto death, then meditate on three things:-First, How graciously God dealeth with thee. Secondly, From what evils
   64 - A Prayer to Be Said of One That Is Like to Die. - A Prayer for a sick Man, when he is told that he is not a man for this world, but must prepare himself to go unto God. O heavenly Father, who art t
   65 - Meditations against Despair, or doubting of God's Mercy. - It is found by continual experience, that near the time of death, when the children of God are weakest, then Satan makes the greatest nourish of his s
   66 - An Admonition to them who come to visit the Sick. - They who come to visit ihe sick, must have a special care not to stand dumb and staring in the sick person's face to disquiet him, nor yet to speak id
   67 - A Prayer to be said for the Sick by them who visit him. - O merciful Father, who art the Lord and giver of life, and to whom belong the issues of death, we, thy children here assembled, do acknowledge, that i
   68 - Consolations Against Impatience in Sickness. - If in thy sickness by extremity of pain thou be driven to impatience, meditate- 1. That thy sins have deserved the pains of hell; therefore thou ma
   69 - Consolations Against the Fear of Death - If in the time of thy sickness thou findest thyself fearful to die, meditate- 1. That it argueth a dastardly mind to fear that which is not; for in
   70 - Seven Sanctified Thoughts and Mournful Sighs of a Sick Man Ready to Die. - Now, forasmuch as God of his infinite mercy doth so temper our pain and sickness, that we are not always oppressed with extremity, but gives us in the
   71 - Of the Comfortable Assurance of God's Forgiveness of Sins. - The sick Person ought now to send for some godly and religious Pastor. In any wise remember, if conveniently it may be, to send for some godly and
   72 - Meditations of Martyrdom. - Now follows the Practice of Piety in dying for the Lord. The practice of piety in dying for the Lord is termed Martyrdom. Martyrdom is the testi
   73 - A Divine Colloquy Between the Soul and Her Savior - A Divine Colloquy between the Soul and her Saviour upon the effectual Merits of his dolorous Passion. Soul. Lord, wherefore didst thou wash thy d
   74 - The Soul's Soliloquy, ravished in contemplation of the Passion of our Lord. - What hadst thou done, O my sweet Saviour, and ever-blessed Redeemer, that thou wast thus betrayed of Judas, sold of the Jews, apprehended as a malefac

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