At thy first waking in the morning, be careful of thyself that thou harbor in thy brain no vain, unprofitable and, most of all, no ungodly thoughts to hinder thy morning sacrifice.  But immediately frame thyself to meditate on the mercies of God, the maliciousness of the devil, and thine own weakness.  The devil’s malice is as easily perceived as thy weakness is for, even now, he lies lurking, ready to catch every good motion from thy heart, suggesting things more delightful to thy fancy and persuading thee to put off thy service to God, though but for a little while.

But be warned and armed against his temptations.  Be assured, if thou once yield to neglect praying to God but one half hour, when that time comes, thou shalt find thyself far more unfit and thy heart more dull to pray than before.  Whereas, if thou preparest thyself to pray, even though thou art heavy and uncheerful in it, yet God, who searches the heart and sees thy desire to pray – though thou canst not – will enlighten thee and prepare thy heart in anticipation of the next time, so that thou shalt find comfort.  Therefore, take heed that the devil deceives thee not, for you see his malice is not small in that he seeks to cheat you of all happiness presently and to come.  For be assured, you can take no true joy in earthly pleasures, no longer than you seek after heaven.

From: “The Mother’s Legacy to Her Unborn Child” by Elizabeth Joscelin, in Free Grace Broadcaster, Issue 229 (Fall, 2014), p. 27.

Elizabeth Joscelin (1595?-1622), concerned about dying in childbirth, wrote The Mother’s Legacie to Her Unborn Childe before her daughter, Theodora, was born on October 12, 1622.  Elizabeth, who was born in Cheshire, England, was a granddaughter of William Chaderton (1540?-1608), an Anglican theologian and bishop.  She died on October 21, 1622, nine days after Theodora was born.

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