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O THOU, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, and whose service is perfect freedom, cleanse the thoughts of our heart by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, and give us grace whereby we may serve Thee acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Thou art our hiding place; Thou art our resting place; Thou art our dwelling place; the home of the soul, and our everlasting portion. By sin we revolted from Thee, and thou couldst have justly left us to the natural and penal consequences of the fall; but in thy love and pity Thou wast pleased to devise means that thy banished should be restored to Thee; Thou hast sent thy only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him; and He has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us unto God.
Having therefore boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him, we draw near, and cry, God be merciful to us sinners. Thou hast been merciful to us in the bounties of thy Providence, and thy mercies have been new every morning; but O, impress us with the conviction that the body is nothing to the soul, and that time is nothing to eternity. When a few more of these weekly periods have rolled away, our flesh will be laid beneath the cold stone, or the green turf, and our spirits will be returned to God who gave them; and the solemn decision will have passed, He that is holy let him be holy still, and he that is filthy let him be filthy still. O bless us with the heritage of Jacob; remember us with the favor Thou bearest to thy people. Absolve us from all condemnation; and let the spirit of life in Christ Jesus make us free from the law of sin and death. Deliver us from the power of darkness, and translate us into the kingdom of thy dear Son; that
kingdom which is not meat and drink, but righteousness. peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
In how many ways have we borne the image of the earthy; O let us evermore bear the image of the heavenly. May the humility and benevolence, the devotion and zeal, the patience and submission, which adorned his lovely character, be in a measure our attainment now; and pressing after a fuller conformity to Him, may we rejoice in the assurance that we shall be one day perfectly like Him, and see Him as He is:
Enable us to hold communion with Thee in all the dispensations of thy providence, and display the Christian in all the varying events of life. Man is born to trouble; regard us in all our sorrows. Though our afflictions are the effects of sin, they are taken up, and employed by thy wisdom and goodness fci our profit: and though no chastening seemeth for the present to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Be it unto us, O Lord, according to thy word. May we learn obedience by the things we suffer; and may every adversity turn to our salvation through prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Though ignorant of the future, and not knowing what a day may bring forth, may we be fearful of nothing, and careful for nothing. May we commit our way and our works unto Him who hast been with us in six troubles, and has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake: whose grace will be sufficient for us while we live, and whose hand shall wipe away all tears from our eyes when we die.
May we feel more of the tender and benevolent agency of the gospel. May it make us long for the salvation of souls; and rejoice in the belief that Jesus gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
Already the lines have fallen to us in pleasant places.
Blessed are our eyes for they see, and our ears for they hear. Yet the blessing may be converted into a curse; and Thou hast commanded us to fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into thy rest, any of us should seem to come short of it.
We would now dismiss the cares of the world with the week. May we rise in the morning with refreshed bodies and renewed strength; and be in the Spirit on thine own day. And do Thou send out thy light and thy truth, that they may lead us and guide us to thy holy hill and to thy tabernacles. Our Father who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
FORMS OF PRAYER,
O GOD, Thou art worthy of universal and everlasting adoration. Thy nature is incomprehensible; thy perfections are infinite; and thy ways are past finding out. Thou art the Creator and upholder of all things. All thy works praise Thee, O Lord, and thy saints bless Thee. All our lives have been full of thy undeserved goodness.
But we are called this morning to behold the exceeding riches of thy grace, in thy kindness towards us by Christ Jesus. Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
May we contemplate this matchless event with all those views and affections which its importance demands. May those who observe the day observe it unto the Lord. May our festivity be becoming the occasion, harmless and holy. Let us not disgrace the season by reviving those works of the devil which the Son of God was manifested to destroy; nor rest satisfied with the mere remembrance of his advent, as founded in truth and attended with wonders, but inquire for what end He was born, and for what cause he came into the world. And since we are informed that He came
to seek and to save that which was lost; and suffered the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God; may we deem the report not only a faithful saying, but worthy of all acceptation; and may it be in us a well of water springing up into everlasting life. May none of us disre gard Him, from ignorance, worldly mindedness, presumption, self-righteousness, or despondency. As our Prophet, may we repair to his feet for instruction. May we look to His sacrifice, and find relief for our burdened consciences. May we acknowledge his authority and obey his commands In all our approaches to Thee, may we make mention of his righteousness only, and in his strength go forth into all the duties and trials of life.
May we never feel miserable, even in a vale of tears, while we think of the consolation of Israel; but rejoice in Him with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Reflecting upon his grace in becoming poor, that we through his poverty might be rich, may all selfishness and uncharitableness be extirpated from our hearts; may we love one another as He has loved us; and may we delight to go about doing good.
May no coldness, no indifference, ever approach our spirits, whenever we are engaged in serving a Master who has all the claims of a benefactor; yea, who died for us and rose again.
To Him may we consecrate all our faculties and possessions; and on our time and our substance, our souls and our bodies, may there be inscribed, Holiness unto the Lord. May we grieve to hear his name blasphemed, and weep to see his laws transgressed.
May his cause lie near our hearts; and may we long for the time when He shall be known and adored from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same; when to Him shall every knee bow, and every tongue confess; and