A Christian vow
To be made in these tymes of trouble
by all such as deplore the decayes of the
Church & the confused diversities of
Religions amongst Christians.
A Vow to God ought not to be made rashly but with due premeditation & ripe deliberation vpon these following poynts.
1. of the nature of a vow how farr it is warranted by God & lawfull to be made.
2. how it ought to be kept & how it bindeth him that maketh it.
3. what the matter of it ought to be.
4. vpon what motives a man should be stirred vp to make it.
5. how he should be affected in making it.
6. what meanes he should vse after it is made to performe it, & pay it.
Therefore for the better resolution in this purpose take tyme & premeditate these heads throughly and to help thee in the worke consider these places of scripture.
For the first poynt Consider ps: 50: 14: & 76: 11:
prov <28> prov: 20: 25:
For the second Number 30. 2. Deut. 23: 21: Eccl: 5: 3. 4. 5.
For the third Consider the things vowed by the saints of God as by Iacob: Gen: 18: 21: 22. & by David ps: 132: 2: 3. 4. 5. & that which they were carefull to performe in paying theire vowes see ps. 56: 12 & 61: 7. 8. & 66: 13. & 116: 17: 18.
For the fourth Consider the motives intimated Eccl: 5. 2. 6. & Iacobs practice who having a promise of God vowed. Gen: 18: 13: 14: 15. see also psa: 50: 14. 15. & 66: 13. 14.
For the fift Consider how the spirits of Gods Children were affected in making theire vowes
how Iacob was in feare. Gen: 18. how Iephta was in zeale Iudg: 11. how Hanna in greife 1. Sam: 1. & David in care ps. 132.
For the sixt Consider the circumstances of the vow of the Nazareth Numbers. 6: The prophet Ionas his practice Iona. 2. 9. & Pauls practice Act: 18: 18. & 21: 24:
ps: 76: 11: vow & pay vnto the lord your God
ps: 50: 14: Offer to God the thanksgiving & pay thy vowes to the most high
ps: 22: 25. I will pay my vowes before them that feare him.
Now therefore seeing thou hast put this thought in my heart.
Let the words of my mouth & the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight o lord my strength & my redeemer.
O lord God of my salvation, thou hast made me in Adam a man: thou hast called me by the Gospell of Iesus Christ through faith & repentance, in the remission of all my synnes & the renewing of thine Image in my soule to be made thy sonne thou hast given me the earnest of thy spirit, and by it hast promised to lead me in all truth & dost at this present assure my heart thereby of the eternall inheritance of the purchased possession of thy glorious presence; therefore I desire in answering thy new Covenant to make a vow & Covenant with thee in Christ, whereby I doe conscionably bind my soule & faithfull promise by these presents.
First that I doe actually & fully now for ever
resigne & offer vp my selfe vnto thee in him, to follow him to live through him & to him according to his word by a rationall obedience in forsaking this wicked world, myne owne selfe and the love of things present in the lusts of the flesh, in the lusts of the eyes, & in the pride of life, that I may wholy Cleave vnto thee through the love of thy only good, holy perfect & acceptable will.
Secondly that I also have given and will give myselfe over vnto thy Church to live in the Communion of Saints as a member of the misticall body of thy sonne endeavoring as it shall please thy grace to enable me with guifts; to bestow all my tallents to the advancement of thy glory, by the manefestation of thy knowne truth & will to the edification of all men in Christian Charity, binding my selfe more particularly in brotherly love to all thy Children (whome I will take to be all such as I shall see making open profession of thy name, by avoyding of profanesse, injustice, & a disolute[altered] & scandalous life, through Care to keepe a good Conscience in the things revealed to them) as to my bretheren and fellow members in Christ our only head, to live inocently with them in thought word & deed by laboring to keepe myselfe free from outward schismes & inward malice against them in preserving carefully the vnity of the spirit in the bond of peace with all those
whome in the judgement of Charity I shall think to be within the Covenant of grace, with whome I shall study to live profitably to them & for them not only by distributing of my temporall substance as well for the releife of theire outward wants in these hard tymes of persecution & distresse, as also for the setting forward of Godly & Charitable enterprizes tending to the publique good of Religion & learning, but also by communicating of my spirituall parts & Indowments freely as my abilities shall permit & as occasion shall fitly require to give advertizement advice & Counsell to them in things expedient or necessary, to answere lawfull questions, to resolve conscionable doubts, to elaborate pious treaties, to meditate vpon good subjects & to Imploy all the guifts which I have received or shall receive from God in knowledg or vtterance, either by word or write, to the common stock & storehouse of Christian & Evangelicall truthes which by the gracious assistance of God may be & ought to be erected by Common endeavours for the preservation of the purity & encrease of the light of the Gospell in this & future ages.
This is my vow & faithfull promise soe help thou me who knowest the secrets of all hearts as I truly resolve to keepe it but thou o lord help me effectually as thou hast given to will give also graciously to performe & that through thy onely sonne Iesus Christ our Saviour in the working of thy holy Spirit Amen.
Thy vowes are vpon me o God I will render
prayses to thee for I am thy servant & the
Arme of thy handmaide