Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Place thyself in God's presence"

From the first chapter of The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living by Jeremy Taylor [1651]:
In the morning when you awake, accustom yourself to think first upon God, or something in order to His service; and at night also, let Him close thine eyes: and let your sleep be necessary and healthful, not idle beyond the needs and conveniences of nature; and sometimes be curious to see the preparation which the sun makes when he is coming forth from his chambers of the east.

Begin every action in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; the meaning of which is: that we design it to the glory of God: and that it may be so blessed that what you intend for innocent and holy purposes, may not, by any chance, or abuse, or misunderstanding of men, be turned into evil, or made the occasion of sin.

In the beginning of actions of religion, make an act of adoration, that is, solemnly worship God, and place thyself in God's presence, and behold Him with the eye of faith; and let thy desires actually fix on Him, as the object of thy worship, and the reason of thy hope, and the fountain of thy blessing.

God is in every place: suppose it therefore to be a church; and that decency of deportment and piety of carriage which you are taught by religion, or by custom, or by civility and public manners, to use in churches, the same use in all places.

God is in every creature; be cruel towards none, neither abuse any by intemperance.

He walks as in the presence of God that converses with Him in frequent prayer and frequent communion; in all his necessities, in all doubtings; that opens all his wants to Him, that weeps before Him for his sins; that asks remedy and support for his weakness; that fears Him as a Judge; reverences Him as a Lord; obeys Him as a Father; and loves Him.

O Almighty God, infinite and eternal, Thou art in the consciences of all men. Teach me to walk always as in Thy presence, to fear Thy majesty, to reverence Thy wisdom: that I may never dare to commit any indecency in the eye of my Lord and my Judge; that I, expressing the belief of Thy presence here, may feel the effects of it in eternal glory; through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living.