Lewis Bayly (born perhaps at Carmarthen, Wales, perhaps near Biggar, Scotland, year unknown; died at Bangor, Wales, October 26, 1631) was an Anglican bishop. He was educated at Oxford, became vicar of Evesham, Worcestershire, and probably in 1604 became rector of St. Matthew's Church, Friday street, London.
He was then chaplain to Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales (died 1612), later chaplain to King James I, who, in 1616, appointed him bishop of Bangor. He was an ardent Puritan.
Bayly's fame rests on his book The Practice of Piety, directing a Christian how to walk that he may please God (date of first edition unknown; 3d edition, London, 1613). It reached its 74th edition in 1821 and has been translated into French, German, Italian, Polish, Romansh, Welsh, and into the language of the Massachusetts Indians. It was one of the two books which John Bunyan's wife brought with her and it was by reading it that Bunyan was first spiritually awakened.
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Practice of Piety 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 Practitioner of Piety. Yet read it, and that speedily, lest, before thou hast read it over, God, by some unexpected death, cut thee off for thine inveterate impiety.
The Practice of Piety consists-
Practice of Piety 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 can define what God is, because he is incomprehensible (Psal. cxliii. 3) and dwelling in inaccessible light (1 Tim. vi. 16); yet it has pleased his majesty to reveal himself to us in his word, so far as ...read
Practice of Piety 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 stain of original sin, and cast naked upon the earth. What cause then hast thou to boast of thy birth, which was pain and anguish to thy mother, and to thyself the entrance into a troublesome life? the gr ...read
Practice of Piety 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 herself by sin.
1. The felicity lost was, first, the fruition of the image of God, whereby the soul was like God in knowledge, enabling her perfectly to understand the revealed will of God (Col. i ...read
Practice of Piety 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 slaughterman, God's curse, and hell's purveyor, and looks the old man grim and black in the face; and neither pitying his age, nor regarding his long-endured dolours, will not be hired to forbear eit ...read
Practice of Piety 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 able to bear the brunt of it, presseth him down to that bottomless deep of the endless wrath of Almighty God, which is called the damnation of hell (Luke viii. 28, & xvi. 23; 1 Thess. i. 10; Matt. xxii ...read
Practice of Piety 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 renewed by grace in Christ and become a new creature, is blessed in a threefold respect-First, in his life; Secondly, in his death; Thirdly, after death.
I. His blessedness during his life is but in part ...read
Practice of Piety 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 for their inheritance (Matt. xxv.; 1 Pet. i. 4), and they shall be free denizens of the heavenly Jerusalem (Eph. ii. 19; Heb. xii. 22.) St. Paul, by being a free citizen of Rome (Acts xxi. 26), escaped ...read
Practice of Piety 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. 10), so far as creatures can possibly comprehend the Creator. For there we shall see the Word, the Creator; and in the Word, all creatures that by the Word were created; so that we shall not need to l ...read
Practice of Piety 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, how wretched and cursed thy state is, by corruption of nature, without Christ! insomuch, that as the scriptures liken wicked men to lions, bears, bulls, horses, dogs, and such like savage creatures, i ...read
Practice of Piety 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; and let him, before all others, have the first place there. So all evil thoughts either will not dare to come in, or shall the easier be kept out; and the heart will more savour of piety and godliness ...read
Practice of Piety 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 in thy bed, out of the sleep of nature. At the dawning of which resurrection day, Christ shall come to be glorified in his saints; and every one of the bodies of the thousands of his saints, being fas ...read
Practice of Piety 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, so reading and meditating on the word of God, are the parent's of prayer, therefore, before thou prayest in the morning, first read a chapter in the word of God; then meditate awhile with thyself, how ...read
Practice of Piety 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 from heaven upon me, thine unworthy servant, who here prostrate myself at the footstool of thy throne of grace. But look upon me, O Father, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy beloved ...read
Practice of Piety 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 else to cut them shorter, meditate that prayer is thy spiritual sacrifice, wherewith God is well pleased (Heb. xiii. 15, 16;) and therefore it is so displeasing to the devil, and so irksome to the flesh ...read