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we have the reality of religion, how far are our works from being found perfect before God! Strengthen in us the things that remain that be ready to die; and help us to reach after the higher attainments and privileges of the divine life. May we be followers of God as dear children, and feel it the joy of our lives to be holy as Thou art holy, and merciful as Thou art merciful. May thine eye be more to us than the inspection of all our fellow creatures; and thy approbation be dearer than the approbation of a thousand worlds.
May no grace of the Spirit be wanting or weak in us; may no duty of our calling be neglected, or carelessly performed. May our faith be a strong faith, our hope a lively hope, our charity a fervent charity, our conversation a conversation becoming the gospel of Christ. May we stand complete in all the will of God; and may our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.
May we long to serve our generation according to thy will; may wisdom select and regulate our means, and a blameless and lovely consistency of character give weight to our endeavors. And may all our works begin, continue. and end, in Thee. On Thee may we depend for light to know, and disposition to choose, and strength to perform, and submission to suffer, and patience to wait.
And when we have done all, may we acknowledge that we are unprofitable servants, and confess that we deserve condemnation for the defects of our obedience, rather than a reward for its excellency. And looking off from our duties as well as our sins, to find a foundation for our hope, may we rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. And may our persons and services be accepted in the Beloved-To whom be glory and dominion, for ever and ever Amen
We would lift up our hearts, with our hands, unto God in the heavens. Behold before Thee a company of highly indulged but sinful beings. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. None of our fellow creatures know half so much of our depravity as we ourselves know; and our knowledge is ignorance compared with thy wisdom.
Thou readest the heart. Thou viewest actions in their principles and motives. Thou seest more defilement in our duties than we ever saw in any of our sins. In thy sight the heavens are not clean, and Thou chargest thine angels with folly. And if we hate ourselves, and are ready to flee from ourselves because of our abominations, how wonderful is it that Thou dost not abhor us, and swear in thy wrath that we shall not enter into thy rest.
But, be astonished, O heavens, and wonder, O earth! Instead of such a deserved exclusion, Thou hast even devised means that thy banished be not expelled from Thee; means the most astonishing and glorious, and which the angels desire to look into. For Thou hast so loved the world, as to give thine only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. In Him mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other; and thy honor is not only secured, but prominently displayed, even in our escape from thine own threatenings. In Him the enslaved can find redemption, the guilty pardon, the unholy renovation. In Him are everlasting strength for the weak, and unsearchable riches for the needy; in Him we find all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge for the ignorant; in Him all fulness dwells.
We bless Thee for the provision which thine infinite
goodness has made for our everlasting welfare; and for the gospel of our salvation which makes it known; and which not only reveals it to our view, but proposes it to our hope, and presses it upon our acceptance.
O Lord, at thy gracious call we hear, we look, we come, we apply, we receive. We not only submit to the scheme of mercy, but we acquiesce in it; we glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; we joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. We bless Thee that in this grace we STAND: Thou hast rendered the blessings as secure as they are glorious; and we are persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Yea, for ever blessed be thy name, Thou hast not only provided for our safety, but our prosperity. Thou hast not only promised that the righteous shall hold on their way, but wax stronger and stronger. Thou doest not despise the day of small things; but Thou givest more grace; and hast commanded us to ask and receive, that our joy may be full.
And now, O Lord, what shall we render for all thy benefits towards us? We can never discharge the obliga tions we are under, but we pray that we may be sensible of them; and though we can make no adequate, may we make suitable returns; and ever ask from the heart, as well as with the lip, Lord what wilt Thou have me to do?
And may we show forth thy praise. May we speak well of thy name. May we be concerned to bring others to love and serve Thee; and to share with us in all the good which Thou hast spoken concerning Israel.
O let our children be thy children, our friends thy friends. our servants thy servants.
May our neighbours, and our enemies too, be visited with thy salvation.
Dwell in our families. Let thy goings be seen in our sanctuaries. Let the people praise Thee, O God; yea let all the people praise Thee. Let the whole earth be filled with thy glory.
Bless the Lord, ye his angels that excel in strength, that do his commandments, harkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts, ye ministers of his that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Amen and Amen.
AGAIN, O Lord of all, we desire to bow in thy presence. May we approach Thee with all the encouragements that can be derived from thy character as the God of love. We are not left to feel after Thee in the darkness of nature; nor to worship Thee as the unknown God. We cannot find Thee out unto perfection; but we know that Thou art good and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee.
For Thou hast given us thy word, which Thou hast magnified above all thy name; and Thou hast favoured us with the gospel, which has turned the dawn of Judaism into perfect day; so that on us who were sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, has risen a great light, the light of life.
But we acknowledge how ungratefully we have receivea the benefit, and how little we have improved our privileges to the purposes for which they have been given. We have made light of these things though angels desire
to look into them; we have neglected the great salvation; we have turned away from Him that speaketh from heaAnd all that Thou hast kindly employed to enforce the messages of thy word we have disregarded; for we have contemned the examples of the good, the admonitions of friendship, the reproaches of conscience, the rebukes of thy providence, and the strivings of thy Holy Spirit and well do we deserve that the kingdom of God should be taken away from us O let us not confess our sins without feeling and lamenting them, but with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, with self-abhorrence, self-condemnation, and self-despair.
And under a deep impression of our guilt, may we seek relief alone from Him who is the hope and the consolation of Israel. Viewing Him as dying for the ungodly may we believe in his name. May we know that He bare our sins in his own body on the tree, and that by his stripes we are healed. And may we find in Him, not only righteousness but strength. May He impart to us, not only forgiveness of sins, but repentance unto life. May we never separate in our regards what he has joined together in the scripture; nor suppose that we are justified by his blood, unless we are sanctified by his Spirit.
We believe we can never be happy in sin, and we do not desire it: Lord, deliver us from it, and lead us in the way everlasting. Make us holy like thyself, that we may be made happy in thyself. We are naturally disqualified for all communion with a holy God; work in us to will and to do of thy good pleasure; produce in us those principles and dispositions which will attach us to thyself as our exceeding joy and enable us to say, Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.
Under all our ignorance, weakness, fears, and depressions,