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the glad tidings of great joy shall be to all people, Unto You is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
Through his mediation we address Thee; and in his words we conclude our imperfect supplications. 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 who 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.
THOUGH Thou art exalted above all blessing and praise, yet, O God, we love to explore thy ways, to admire thy works, and to adore thy perfections. Thy understanding is infinite, thy power is almighty, thy mercy endureth for ever. Thy goodness transcends all our conceptions, as far as the heavens are higher than the earth.
We call on our souls and each other, this evening, to praise and magnify thy holy name. We bless Thee for our creation, and the degree we hold in the rank of being. We bless thee for our preservation, and for all the supplies which have rendered life supportable; and all the indulgences which have rendered it comfortable. But above all, we thank Thee for thine unspeakable gift; for Thou hast surpassed all thy works and crowned all thy benefits by re membering us in our low estate, and laying help on one that is mighty.
And we have again heard the intelligence, that God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have
everlasting life. Convince us of our need of this dispensation of mercy and grace; and may we acquiesce in it, not with coldness of assent, but with gladness of heart. May we exclaim with the angels, Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will towards men: and with the multitude of disciples, shout, Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Though the world knew Him not, and his own received Him not, and He is still despised and rejected of men; may we receive Him as all our salvation and all our desire.
May we rejoice to view Him in a nature which leads Him to call us brethren; in which, as our example, He can go before us in the duties of obedience and submission, in which He can sympathize with us in all our wo; and in which He has suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us unto God.
May we look to Him for all we want, and live a life of faith upon his fulness. In Him may we know that we have redemption through his blood; that we have righteousness and strength; that we have all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
May we connect with his work FOR us in the flesh, his work IN us by the Spirit. While we are reconciled by his death, may we be saved by his life; and remember that his name is Jesus, because He saves his people from their sins.
And as He came not only that we might have life, but have it more abundantly, may our expectations be large and our desires importunate. May He dwell in our hearts by faith; that we being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the height and depth, and breadth and length, and know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, and be filled with all the fulness of God.
Once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself; and unto them that look for Him will He appear a second time without sin unto salvation. O prepare us for that solemn day! May we believe in Him as a Saviour before we meet Him as a Judge; that when the tribes of the earth shall wail because of Him, we may lift up our heads with joy, knowing that our redemption draweth nigh; and say with the church, Lo! this is our God, we have waited for Him, He will save us; this is the Lord, we have waited for Him; we will rejoice and be glad in his salvation.
Make thy ministers wise and zealous and successful in the dispensation of thy word; and let signs and wonders be done in the name of thy holy child Jesus.
We We are a sinful people, but Thou hast not dealt with us after our desert; and Thou hast not left us without witness. Thou hast, in the midst of us, a people for thy name; and we pray that our beloved country may be a growing part of the empire of the Prince of Peace.
May the root of Jesse stand for an ensign to the people; to it may the Gentiles seek; and let his rest be glorious. May He come down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth. In his days may the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. Let all nations be blessed in Him; all generations call Him blessed.
And blessed be his glorious name for ever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen.
LAST EVENING OF THE OLD YEAR
O GOD, Thou hast been our refuge and dwelling place in all generations, Before the mountains were brought
forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God. A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. But as for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field so he flourisheth ; for the wind passeth over it and it is gone, and the place thereof knoweth it no more.
We appear before Thee, to close in thy presence another of the revolutions of our fleeting existence, earnestly praying that the season may not pass away without suitable and serious reflections. O let us not imagine, in spite of scripture and observation, and reason and feeling, that we have many of these periods left to notice; but say with Job, When a few years are come I shall go to the way whence I shall not return. It may be only a few months, or weeks, or days, or hours, for we know not at what HOUR the Son of man cometh. But we know that our life is a vapour, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away; we know the frailty of our frame, and the numberless dis eases and disasters to which we are exposed. So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wis dom.
What numbers of our fellow creatures, and many of them much more likely to have continued than their survivors, have during the past year been carried down to their long home; but we have been preserved, and are the living to praise Thee this day. Blessed be the God of salvation, to whom belong the issues from death, that we are yet in the regions of hope, that we have yet an accepted time, and a day of salvation; and that our opportunities of doing good as well as of gaining good are still prolonged. Yet are they all diminished by another irreparable loss; and the reduced remainder, with every trembling uncer tainty attached to it, calls upon us to say with growing seriousness and zeal, I must work the work of Him that
sent me while it is day-the night cometh wherein no man can work.
Thou hast commanded us to remember all the way which Thou hast led us in the wilderness. The scene of our journeying has indeed been a wilderness; but the hand that has conducted us is divine, and a thousand privileges, not derivable FROM our condition, have been experienced in it.
Thou hast corrected us, but it is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed.
We have had our afflictions, but how few have they been in number, how short in continuance, how alleviated in degree, how merciful in design, how instructive and useful in their results.
With regard to our severest exercises, we are compelled to acknowledge, Thou hast not dealt with us after our sins, neither hast Thou rewarded us according to our iniquities. It is good for me that I have been afflicted.
But O, what a series of bounties and blessings present themselves to our minds, when we look back upon the year through which we have passed; and to what, but to thine unmerited goodness in the Son of thy love, are we indebted for all? Health, strength, food, raiment, residence, friends, relations, comfort, pleasure, hope, usefulness, all our benefits have dropped from thy gracious hand; and there has not been a day, or an hour, or a moment, but has published thy kindness and thy care.
Especially would we acknowledge thy goodness in continuing to us the means. of grace. Whatever has been denied us, we have had the provisions of thy house. The toils and trials of the week have been refreshed and relieved by the delights of the sabbath. Our eyes have seen our teachers; our ears have heard the joyful sound of the gospel; and our hearts have often said, Lord, it is good for us to be here.