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Agonies; and as my Strength decays, let my the Hour Pains wear off. But when my Strength fails, let of Death, not my Faith fail ; even in Death enable me to trust in thee. Deliver me from all violent Disorders of a troubled Fancy, or painful Delusions of my Ghostly Enemy. Oh! let him not be able to disturb and terrify me, or any Way prevail against
Have me in thy Custody, O holy Father ! for nothing can take me out of thy Hands ; give thy holy Angels Charge to stand about me, to guard and receive my poor Soul at my Departure, and to conduct and carry it to the blessed Receptacles of Reft and Peace. If it be thy gracious Will, O Lord, make my Pains short, and my Death easy; at Icast not extremely tedious or grievous to
But if thou hast otherwise ordered, thy blessed Will be done ; only give me Patience to bear them, and spiritual Comforts under them, and at thine own i'ime, make my Death my Paffage to a joyful Resurrection, to a blessed and eternal Life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
C H A P. VI.
A. From the extraordinary Prayers and Supplications, which, with Fafting, were at this Time offered to God by devout Christians. The Latins called Gg2
them Rogations, and the Greeks Litanies. In these Fasts the Church had not only a Regard to prepare our Minds to celebate our Saviour's Ascension after a devout Manner, but by fervent Prayers and Humiliation to appease God's Wrath, and deprecate his Displeasure, so that he might avert those Judgments which the Sins of a Nation deserved, that he might be pleased to bless the Fruits with which the Earth is at this Time covered, and not pour upon them those Scourges of his Wrath, Pestilence and War, which ordinarily begin in this Season.
Q. When were these Rogation Days established in ibe Church?
A. The Use of these carnest Supplications for the Mercy of God, which were called Litanies, was
very early practised in the Christian Church, the Jocl ii.19 Pattern whereof we have in Scripture appointed by
God himself in a Time of general Calamity; and 1 Tim. ii. such Supplications are thought to be suggested Le Comte by St. Paul in those several Kinds of public
Prayers, which he erijoins to Timothy. But this
Season before our Lord's Ascension, for Litanies Tom.s.p. and Rogations, were fixed by Mamerius, Bishop of 385, 286.
Vienne, about the Middle of the fifih Century, upon the Prospect of some particular Calamities that threatened his Diocese. Some few Years after, this Example we followed by Sidonius Bishop of Clermont; and, in the Beginning of the fixth Century, the first Council of Orleans appointed that they should be yearly observed.
Q. W herein confifts the Piety of this Institution?
A. In that it testifies our Dependance upon God, in those Expectations we entertain of Temporal Happiness. And in that we acknowledge all second Causes are entirely at his Disposal; and that the solemn Repentance and earnest Prayers of a Nation are the most effectual Means to appease God's Wrath and avert public Evils. For thus
we find in the Old Testament, among the People of God, that his Providences were suited to their Manners, and they were constantly prosperous or afflicted, as Piety and Virtue flourished or declined among them. And the crying Sins of a Nation cannot hope to escape public Judgments, unless they be prevented by a general Repentance and Humiliation; it being only in this Life that public Bodies and Communities of Men, as such, are liable to Punishment.
Q. What was the Service enjoined upon these Days?
A. At the Reformation, when all Professions were abolished by Reason of the Abuse of them, yet for retaining the Perambulation of the Circuits of Parishes, it was enjoined, that the People shall, once a year, at the Time accustomed, with the Curate and substanția! Men of the Parish, walk about the Parishes as they were accustomed, and at their Return to Church make their common Prayers. Provided that the Curate in their faid common Perambulations, used heretofore in the Days of Rogations,, at certain convenient Places, shall admonish the People to give Thanks to God, in the beholding of God's Benefits, for the Increase and Abundance of his Fruits upon the Face of the Earth, with the Sayềng of the 103 Psalm ; at which Time also the fame Minister shall inculcate this and such Sentences, Cursed be be that translateth the Bounds and Doles of bis Neighbour. Injunct. Q. Eliz.
Q. But since all Christians own the great and wonderful Efficacy of Prayer; let me know wherein the Na, ture of Prayer confifts?
A. Prayer is the Address of the Soul to God, and the Ascent of the Mind towards Heaven; which receives different Names according to those various Subjects the Mind is employed upon in
such Addresses. When we bewail our particular
Q. But since God knows all Things, and being infi-
A. Prayer is necessary, as it is one of the highest Acts of religious Worship, whereby we acknowledge God's infinite Perfections, and own our entire Dependance upon him ; that he is the Fountain of ail Goodness, and that we are nothing but Weakness and Imperfection. Besides, God hath eftablished it as a Means, whereby we are to obtain whatever we want in Relation to our Souls and Bodies; we are to ask before it shall be given, we must seek before we pall find, we must knock before it will be opened unto us. And he hath promised the Alliftance of his Holy Spirit to help
us in the Performance of our Prayers ; and hath Heb. vii. appointed his Son to intercede by Virtue of his
Merits for their Acceptance. So that a Man must
Q. W bal bath been the Practice of the World in
A. The most barbarous Nations, as they have owned the Being of a God, so have they always expressed their Řespect and Reverence of a Deity, in making Addresses to him. And thus much was imported by their offering Sacrifices, that God was the great Sovereign of the Universe, that all good Things came from above, and that from his Bounty alone they could expect a Supply of their Wants. In all Ages good Men have in this Manner constantly exercised their Devotion, and have exposed themselves to the utmost Dangers and Hazards, rather than neglect their Duty in this Kind; nay, the blessed Jesus thus teftified his Obedience and Submission, his Love and Humility; he often went into the Places of public Worship, and frequently retired all alone, and spent whole Nights in the Exercise of Prayer.
Q. What ought we to pray for?
Q. What Encouragement have we to beg the Supply of our spiritual and temporal Wants ?
A. The infinite Goodness of the divine Nature, always ready to exert and communicate itself to capable Subjects, and that universal Providence
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