The first fruits of the day

Daily Reading for March 20 • Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, 1711

As soon as ever you awake in the morning, strive as much as you can to keep all worldly thoughts out of your mind, till you have presented the first fruits of the day to God, which will be an excellent preparative, to make you spend the rest of it the better; and therefore be sure to sing the Morning and Evening Hymn in your chamber devoutly, remembering that the Psalmist, upon happy experience assures you that it is a good thing to tell of the loving kindness of the Lord early in the morning, and of his truth in the night season.

When you are ready, look on your soul as still until you have said your prayers.

If you are very young, that God’s commands may not seem grievous to you at your first setting out, I shall advise you to do no more than your infant devotion will bear; and that is, to take great care, to learn your Catechism without book, and to learn to understand it; for ’tis impossible you can ever perform your duty, unless you first know what it is; ’tis impossible you can ever go to Heaven, unless you learn the way thither: and that you may beg God’s dayly blessing, and his grace to assist you, learn these prayers by heart, and say them every day.

Glory be to Thee, O Lord God,

for all the blessings I dayly receive from Thee,

and for Thy particular preservation,

and refreshment of me this day [night] past.

O Lord, have mercy upon me,

and forgive whatsoever Thou hast seen amiss in me;

and for the time to come,

give me grace, to fly all youthful lusts,

and to remember Thee, my Creator, in the days of my youth. . . .

Lord, hear my prayers, and pardon my failings,

for the merits of my blessed Saviour,

in whose holy words I sum up all my wants.

Our Father which art in Heaven, &c.

From A Manual of Prayers for the Use of the Scholars of Winchester College by Thomas Ken, D.D. (London: Printed for John Martyn, 1675).

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