I am always encouraged while reading on the examplary lives of past saints. One man who little is said of goes by the name of John Bruen. John was a laymen, (which is probably why little is said of him) but I was edified by reading small portions about his life in Owen Chadwick’s work: ” The Reformation”.
“He rose at five a.m. in winter, between three and four a.m. in summer, and spent an hour or two in meditating upon the Bible, interceding for his family or writing out a sermon which he had lately heard,to such purpose that when he died he left many orderly volumes of manuscript devotions in his study. He observed the text ‘seven times a day will I praise thee’ at fixed points of the day. He woke his household by ringing a bell for family prayers, and though most of his prayers were extempore, he always began with a collect to convince the ignorant who thought a set form to be unlawful. He chose godly men from the neighbourhood to be his servents, catechized them, and held meetings with them to discuss cases of conscience; and after evening prayers the servants used to continue their devotions in the kitchen. He bought two large Bibles and put them on lecterns in his hall and parlour that the servants and visitors might consult them.”
” His motto which he used to write on the title page of his books, was Hallelujah. He keenly observed the particular providences, and kept a journal of them, from which these extracts have survived:
1601. My servant going with his cart laden, fell down, and the wheels being iron bound went over his leg, yet hurt him not at all: Laus Deo, praised be God
1602. My son John going into the field, took up a scythe to see how he could mow, the scythe entered into his stocking to the shinbone, shaving his hair, and came out at the back side of his leg, and touched no flesh nor skin: Laus Deo, praised be God.”
“To his tenants he was always charitable, not exacting high rents, encouraging their labour, making an annual allowance to buy winter clothes for the poor, visiting them when sick, sometimes giving them his good suits. In times of scarcity he fed many at his table. His hospitality was bountiful, and far from the coventional portrait of a puritan.”
Owen Chadwick concludes:
“Such men were impregnated with Biblical texts; conscious of the imminent hand of God upon every act and moment; denying the possibility of chance; so teaching the utter depravity of man since the fall of Adam, and the glory of redeeming power……”.
I hope you are blessed by this and encouraged to increase your devotion to the Lord.
In Christ, awretchsaved
*Chadiwck, Owen. The Reformation. London: Penguin, 1990. (Pg.180-182)