A Brief exhortation to pray continually, taken out of S. Chrysostum

It is also very meet and profitable, that we occupy all the time of our life in prayer, that thereby our hearts may continually receive the sweet dew of God’s grace : of which all persons have no less need, than trees and herbs have of the moisture of waters. For they cannot bring forth fruit, except the roots be comforted with moisture : and in like manner it is impossible for us, to be replenished with beautiful fruits of piety, if our hearts be not refreshed by prayer. For which cause we ought to forsake our beds, and prevent the Sun rising in God’s service.

The like we ought to do, when we go to meat, and at night, when we must of necessity take our rest : yea, it behooveth at all hours to offer some one prayer to God, to the end both day and night together, might be spent in prayer : especially in time of winter it is convenient to imploy the most part of the night in prayer, and so to spend the time upon our knees in divine service.

Tell me, I pray thee, how canst thou behold the Sun, if thou doest not honour him first, that made thine eyes to see that most beautiful light? How canst thou go to the table to eat, if thou do not first honour him, who giveth and furnisheth us daily with such great benefits? How canst thou trust to pass the dark night, and to avoid such dreams & thoughts, as may come to thee, if thou defend not thyself by prayer? If thou be not counterguarded by prayers, thou shalt easily yield thyself to wicked spirits, which go continually about us, espying if they can perceive any one unarmed, that suddenly they may devour him. But if they see him furnished with prayer, they retire presently, even as wicked thieves, when they see the sword towards them.

Transcribed by E.T.H. III from A Manual of Godly Prayers, and Litanies…At S. Omers for John Heigham 1623.


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