MANUAL OF PRAYER.
O Thou Judge of the quick and the dead, make me realize that I am responsible to thee for all my thoughts, words, and actions; and in all my duties and privileges. Thou searchest my heart and triest my reins: thou knowest all the thoughts of my mind, with all the works of my life; and thou makest record of them :—and for all these thou wilt bring me into judgment, whether they be good or evil. Then there shall be nothing that now is covered that shall not be revealed; and hid that shall not be made known: and it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for my soul, if I fail to serve thee now in reverence and godly fear. O let not my stewardship of thy mercies be one of wilful sin, of abused privileges, and neglected duties; but grant that in all things I may strive, in the grace of Christ, to work out my salvation with fear and trembling.
But, O Lord, let not my anxiety for my own salvation blind my eyes to my duties to my fellow men. Excite me to diligent labour on behalf of thy church and of sinners. May I feel that I am bound to do good as I have opportunity ; looking diligently to the judgment of that day when the unprofitable servant shall be cast into outer darkness, while he that has been faithful shall enter, through the atonement of Christ, into the joy of his Lord. And unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever.
Lord, wilt thou give me the spirit of adoption, by which I may cry " Abba, Father?" I am indeed thine offspring by creation: may I be thine by adoption, and be thou my parent in that nobler relation of a reconciled God and Father in the Lord Jesus. Make me one of the number and give me, through the merits of Christ, a title to the privileges of thy dear children. Behold! what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on them, that they should be called the sons of God. O grant that in indulging this hope, I may purify myself, even as thou art pure. Make it a spirit of tenderness and reverence, of gratitude and love, of obedience and zeal. May it give me access to thy throne with an humble confidence in the faith of Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. May it enable me in all the vicissitudes of life to look up to thee as infinitely able and willing to bless me with thy paternal gifts: for if earthly parents know how to give good gifts to their children, much more will our Heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him. Grant that thy Spirit may bear witness with mine that I am thy child ; and if a child, then an heir, and a joint-heir with Christ, In that inheritance which fadeth not away.
Look in mercy, O God, on thy children by nature, who are wandering as prodigals from their home, and are living without God in the world. Touch their hearts with a feeling of their wants and their apostacy; and do thou bring many back, who shall say they have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and are not worthy to be called thy children. Establish them in the fellowship of thy saints, and make them heirs of the grace of life, through the Lord Jesus Christ.
O Most High, thou dwellest in light that is inaccessible and full of glory. Thou art infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in thy being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. Thou art not worshipped as though thou needest any thing; for thou givest unto all, life, and breath, and all things. Yet thou art exalted above principalities and powers, that at thy name every knee should bow, and every tongue confess. O, thou art infinitely worthy of the everlasting adoration of all thy rational creatures. Thou art glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders. In thee I live, and move, and have my being. From thee I derive every good and perfect gift. It was thy power which created me; it is thy wisdom that governs me; thy goodness that provides for me; and thy grace that save3 me. O help me, adorable Jehovah, to feel and express the infinite excellencies of thy character, and to bow before thee as over all, God, blessed forever.—[See Praise, andihe various Attributes.']
Prepare me, O Lord, for meeting and bearing all the adversities of life. Support or deliver me in poverty, in sickness, in pain, in bereavement, in persecution, in sorrow, in reproach. Let the trial of my faith in all these work patience and holiness. May I endure as seeing him who is invisible; and so repose on thy wisdom and goodness, that I may say—" Thy will be done—do with me as seemeth good in thy sight—• hou givest and takest away ; blessed be the name of the Lord." Though thy judgments are unsearchable and thy ways past finding out, I know that thou art too wise to err; for thine understanding is infinite. Thou art too good to be unkind; for thou dost not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men; yea, whom thou lovest thou chastenest, and scourgest every child whom thou receivest.
O Shepherd of Israel, cause my every adversity to be sanctified to me. Lead me to acknowledge thy hand in it; to feel that my sins have far more than deserved it; and to be willing that thy justice may be exalted at my expense, and that I may be brought to say, " I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that in faithfulness thou hast afflicted me." Show me that my cup has been mingled with mercies ; for the days of my comforts have far outnumbered the hours of my sorrows—that my griefs are not peculiar to me; for they are the lot of humanity —that they are not the accidents of life; for thou doest all these things—and that I am not called to suffer them alone, for thou hast said, " I will never leave nor forsake thee; and my rod and staff" they shall comfort and support thee, even in the valley and shadow of death."
Lord, grant that thy grace may be peculiarly dear to me in the hour of trial. Enable me to say with thy servant, " Before I was afflicted, I went astray ; but now I have kept thy word." May that grace strengthen me, that I may glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience a hope that maketh not ashamed. Lead me closer to thy throne, as the only place where I may find abiding help in every hour of need. Grant, merciful Father, that my troubles may lead me to sympathize with all who suffer in mind, body, or estate; remembering them that are in bonds, as being bound with them ; and them that suffer adversity, as being myself also in the body. Lord, cause my sorrows, which indeed are but for a moment, to wean me from the vanities and wickedness of earth, to prepare me for eternity, and to work out for me an eternal weight of glory : and vouchsafe to me, in all of them, the consoling thought, that though the earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved, I have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Grant, O Lord, that the impenitent, when they suffer affliction, may be so influenced by it as afterwards to reap the peaceable fruits of righteousness. Let them not despise thy chastenings, nor faint when they are rebuked of thee. Convince them of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Lead them to repent and forsake the error of their ways, and to turn unto him who maketh all things work together for good to them that love him.
These prayers I offer through the prevailing name of Jesus; to whom, with the Father and Spirit, be all honour and rule for ever.
ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF GOD.
Sovereign of the Universe, thou art the infinite source of blessedness. Giving doth not impoverish thee, neither doth withholding make thee rich. It is in thee that my weakness is made strength, and the iniquities of my heart removed. O Lord, let a full persuasion of thy boundless sufficiency fill my heart, that I may forsake the broken cisterns of human happiness, and go to the fountain of living waters. May I commit all my wants and trials to thee; may I be encouraged in the midst of danger and distress; be persuaded that infinite wisdom and goodness govern all thy dealings; and be led to persevere in faith and prayer, until the vision of hope be exchanged for thine open presence, where there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore.
Lord, strengthen me by thy grace, that I may restrain and conquer my propensities to unholy anger. Let it not cloud my brow, nor envenom my tongue, nor vex my heart. Teach me that he who ruleth his own spirit is greater than he who taketh a city; and that he who is hasty of spirit exalteth folly, and shall suffer punishment. He that soweth to the wind shall reap the whirlwind; but the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.—May I consider him who endured the contradiction of sinners, and seek not to avenge myself, but rather give place to wrath. Let me do nothing in rashness and strife. Enable me, in the exercise of candour, forbearance, meekness, and forgiveness, to disarm every temptation to sinful passion, and to cause the wrath of my adversaries to praise thee.
Lord, grant me a well-grounded assurance of a personal interest in thy favour. Comfort me by the persuasion that my many offences have been remitted. Enable me to gather satisfactory evidence from my feelings and conduct that I have passed from death unto life; and may thy Spirit bear witness with mine that I am numbered with thy children. Give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of
Christ, that I may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Cause me to feel that it is my duty to aim at the attainment of this grace, and my privilege to enjoy it, in the exercise of faith, prayer, and zeal. Blessed God, grant me the full assurance of hope unto the end :—a hope that I am accepted before thee for the merits of Christ; and that though worms may devour this body, yet in my flesh I shall see thee, and be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness.
God of Salvation, I thank and adore thee that in the counsels of eternity thou didst devise a plan by which rebellious, guilty, and hell-deserving man might receive thy forgiveness, be reconciled to thee, and enjoy thy favour—and that in the fulness of time thou didst finish thy decree of mercy, by sending thine only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. O, it was matchless compassion that made the ruins of our apostacy the theatre on which to display the wonders of redeeming love. When we lay in the open field, and were polluted in our own blood, thou didst bid us live: yea, thou didst bid us live! Scarcely for a righteous man would one die; peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die: but thou hast commended thy love to us, in that while we were sinners Christ died for us. Thou didst set him forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, for the remission of sins, in order that thou mightest be just, and be the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. Lord, may I have an ever-present conviction that there is no other name by which I can be saved.
May I seek redemption only through his blood, the remission of sins according to the riches of his grace. Purge thou my conscience from dead works to serve the living God; and may I thus judge, that if Christ has died for me, I should henceforth live not unto myself, but unto him. O Lord, grant that at last I may be found among those that have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
O may there be many who shall go into all the world and preach this blessed gospel to every creature. May men every where learn their guilt and danger, and see the fitness of the Saviour thou hast provided for them. May multitudes thirst after righteousness, and be led to that fountain which has been opened in the house of David, where whosoever will, may take of the waters of life freely. Grant, in thy mercy, that all the ends of the earth may look unto Christ and be saved.—[See Jesus Christ.]
O thou that makest the seasons, and crownest them with thy goodness, give ear to the thanksgivings and entreaties which I now offer thee in the name of Jesus. I praise thee that thou hast preserved me amid the heat and diseases of the past summer. I thank thee for the fruits of the earth which have already been gathered, and for those which still burden the fields with the promise of plenty. The whole face of nature speaks thy praise, and bears witness to thy bounty.
Lord, what is man, that thou hast been thus mindful of him; or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Instead of continuing health and sparing life, thou mightest have brought over us the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and the destruction that wasteth at noonday. Instead of making the earth to bring forth and bud, that it might give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, thou couldst have made it more desolate than the wilderness, until the land had fainted by reason of the famine. It is of thy mercies that we are not consumed : for thou art slow to anger and full of compassion ; and thy tender mercies are over all thy works.—O God, incline me to be merciful to others, even as thou hast been merciful to me. Dispose me, in my enjoyment of the abundance of the earth, to pity and relieve the wants of the needy; and deeply impress on my heart the lesson of gratitude which thou hast been striving to teach me by thy goodness.
Whilst thou art now changing the face of the declining year, and bringing over it the tokens of decay and death, O teach me that such are earthly hopes and human life. The fashion of this world passeth away ; and we all do fade as a leaf. The grass withereth, and the flower fadeth ; and all flesh is as grass, and all the goodliness thereof as the flower of the field. May these waning scenes lead me to seek that inheritance in light where no sorrow shall wither, and no sin shall blast the fruit of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God!
Lord, instruct me that he who soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and that he who soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Let my christian experience be like the fruit of the earth, which bringeth forth first the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear: and then, O Lord, when thy harvest is come, put in thy sickle, and gather me, as a shock of corn cometh in his season, into thy heavenly garner. And the praise of my salvation shall be unto the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost forever. BACKSLIDING.
O thou, who through Christ, art rich in mercy to all who call upon thee, preserve me, I pray thee, against backsliding from the ways of grace. Let not my infirmities and corruptions lead me back to the love of the world. Suffer not the temptations by which I am surrounded to draw me away from my love and allegiance to thee. Teach me to avoid the appearance of evil, and to watch against the earliest and least encroachments of sin, both in the heart and in the life. Let me not fall into the occasional nor habitual neglect of public or private duties. Permit me not to substitute formality for the spirit of devotion; nor insincerity for truth of heart; nor vainglory for good will to man ; nor error for the truth of God. Keep me, O Lord, from open transgression, and from degrading thy cause in the eyes of a gainsaying world, by an unholy walk and conversation. And grant, merciful Father, that when my feet fall into snares, and slide in the way of evil, thy grace may be sufficient for that hour of need. Bring me back from all my wanderings, and may the memory of them make me humble and watchful. Forgive my backslidings, restore me to thy favour, set my feet upon the rock, establish my goings in thy strength, and dispose me to press on towards the mark, for the prize of my high calling. Lord, let me not be of those that draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe unto the saving of the soul.
Father of mercies, fill my heart with ever-living sympathies for the wants and woes of all my fellow creatures. Make me merciful even as thou, Heavenly Father, art merciful. May I desire more the blessing
of them that are ready to perish than the favour of the wise and rich, and mighty. Make me the steward of thy bounty, for with such sacrifices thou art well pleased; and grant that I may experience the truth of thy word, that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Lord, thou lovest a cheerful giver. May I remember that whoso hath this world's goods and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, the love of God dwelleth not in him.
Dispose me to do good, as I have opportunity, in all the relations of life. May I be eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, health to the sick, strength to the feeble, help to the needy, and comfort to the mourner. But above all, may my desires and zeal go forth for the spiritual wants of mankind. Let not indolence, selfishness, nor unbelief steel my heart against the claims of those who live regardless of thy will, and of those who are perishing for lack of knowledge. Lord, make me an humble yet honoured instrument in thy hand of spreading the knowledge of thy truth, and of turning sinners from the error of their ways unto the wisdom of the just.
0 thou Giver and Preserver of Being, I would lift up my thanksgivings to thee for having continued and blessed my life through another year. Here I would raise my Ebenezer, and say, " Hitherto hath the Lord helped me." I would look back with mingled feelings of wonder and love on the way in which thou hast led me, ever since the dawn of my existence. If thou hadst measured unto me according to my deserts, my days of probation would long ago have been ended, and I should now be reaping the fruits of sin in the world of despair. But, thanks be unto thee, thy mercy rejoiced against judgment; and I, who might have been a monument of thy justice, am a witness that thou art long-suffering and abundant in goodness.
Lord, accept my gratitude for the many tokens of thy favour which I have enjoyed since my last birthday. I thank thee for my food and raiment, my home and friends, my health and my countless comforts. I praise thee that the means of grace—the institution of prayer, the worship of thy sanctuary, the oracles of truth, the fellowship of saints—have-all been continued unto me. And to all these thou hast added the teaching, and sanctifying, and rejoicing influences of thy Holy Spirit. Lord, thou hast crowned my year with thy goodness, and thy paths • in it have dropped fatness.
O God, help me to ponder and fulfil the duties of heart and action which lie before me in the untravelled and uncertain, but important period of time on which I am now entering. I may have numbered the last year of my existence ; and ere the present one shall have finished its brief circle, time may be to me no more, and the state of my soul be unalterably fixed. Make me thoughtful of death and eternity ; and yet suffer me not to forget, that while it is still day, and before the night cometh, in which no. man can work, thou hast appointed unto me' spheres of duty, which thou requirest me to occupy until thy coming. Give me, I beseech thee, in Christ Jesus, an eye of wisdom to discern, and a heart of love to do, all the requirements of thy blessed will. And if it be thy pleasure to prolong my years, may I look
back on them as spent in thy service, and say, " For me to live is Christ!" But if thou wilt bring my season of trial to an end, O grant that I may be able to say, with exulting joy, " For me to die is gain!"
God of Truth, preserve my understanding and heart from the influence of bigotry. While I am not permitted to tolerate dangerous error, nor connive at heresy, keep me from ignorant perversity and blind obstinacy in defending my own opinions ; and from unkindness and intolerance towards those from whom I differ in sentiment. Suffer me not to mistake prejudice for the love of truth, nor malice for true zeal. May I sincerely desire the success of all who labour for the glory of God and the welfare of souls. Restore, O Lord, the spirit of harmony in all the divisions of the household of faith; so that thy watchmen may see eye to eye, and thy saints, of every name, dwell in the unity of the Spirit.
BLESSING OF GOD. ,
Great God, I desire to feel that without thy blessing, all that I now possess, and all I hope to enjoy, will be barren and worthless. Thou only canst make my possessions and pursuits answer the purposes of wisdom and goodness. Lord, bless thou> my waking and sleeping hours ; my seasons of retirement and intercourse; my daily food and daily duties; my joys and sorrows; my prosperity and adversity ; my rest and labour; my praises and prayers; my thoughts, words, and actions; my hopes; my all. Whatsoever thou mayest deny me, grant me thy favour which is life, and thy loving kindness which is better than life. Let me not undertake nor prosecute any thing on which I cannot ask thee to set the seal of thine approbation. May I turn away from every thing which 1 may judge to be repugnant to thy will. Especially may I feel, in my religious duties, that neither is he that planteth any thing, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase. If thou vouchsafe not thy favour, the heaven that is over my head shall be as brass, and the earth that is under my feet shall be as iron. Without thee I can do nothing ; for in myself my strength is weakness, my wisdom is folly, and my goodness is as the morning cloud and the early dew. But I praise thee that my sufficiency is of God, and that I can do all things through Christ strengthening me. Endue me, I beseech thee, with power from on high; and make thy strength perfect in my weakness.
O Lord, bestow thine abiding sanction and thy richest blessing upon the various efforts of thy church. Give them abundant success. Make them all works of faith and labours of love. Let " Glory to God in the highest, on earth, peace and good will to men," be inscribed on every motive and every exertion of christian zeal. Cast down every obstacle and subdue every enemy. O, do thou remove all the woes and vices that afflict humanity ; and in their stead, bring thou the peace and purity of the precious gospel, which are the sure and satisfying tokens of that holy blessedness which fills the courts of thine upper sanctuary. Lord, give these petitions gracious audience through Christ the Saviour; and dispose me to ascribe unto the King, immortal, eternal, and invisible, all the praise and dominion, now, henceforth, and for ever.
O thou who art the Fountain of Love, fill my heart with strong affections for all that are of the household of faith. May I keep that message that we had from the beginning—that we should love one another. He who doeth this abideth in light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. May I regard thy people as lively stones of thy spiritual house; as partners with me in the trials of life, and in the grace of God ; as members of thy family on earth, and of thy heritage in heaven. Lord, grant me that testimony of having passed from death unto life, which flows from love to the brethren.
Lord of Hosts, may all thy saints love each other, not in word nor in tongue only, but in deed and in truth. Mny they be kind one to another, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven them. May brotherly love continue, through evil report as well as good report. Dispose them to suffer long, to hope all things, to believe all things. Show them, O Lord, that the success of thy kingdom among the ungodly, the peace and joy of the fold of Christ, and the enduring favour of Jehovah, depend on their loving one another out of pure hearts, fervently.
Lord, dispose me to act according to thy will, and in reference to thy glory, in all my worldly business. I thank thee for that law of my nature by which thou hast connected my happiness and usefulness with the employment of my body and mind in the duties of life. O let not mere selfishness be the motive nor end of my labour. May I desire to fulfil in myself the benevolent purposes of thy providence in giving me an active nature, and to make my employments promote the temporal and spiritual interests of mankind. Make me diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord : so that whether I eat, or drink, or whatever I do, I may do it for thy glory.
Lord, preserve me from the spirit of censoriousness. Guard me against an intermeddling, rash, or uncharitable judgment on the conduct of my fellowcreatures. May I do unto others in this matter, as I would they should do unto me. May I remember that with what measure I mete, it shall be measured to me again. Let me not judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Whenever I am tempted to behold the mote that is in my brother's eye, may I consider the beam that is in mine own eye. Show me my own weakness and sinfulness. Dispose me to think no evil of any, and to maintain a good opinion of all, until I have proved all things. And when it becomes my duty to censure others, may I do it, not in anger nor pride of heart, but in sorrow, and with a desire to do good.
Giver of all Good, grant me that fruit of the Spirit which is love. May this be the element where my soul will live, and move, and have its being. O, may I feel that if I could speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal: though I should bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Lord, grant that thy holy commandment, and the countless examples of thy good will, and the various wants of my fellow beings, may be heart-stirring motives to this law of kindness. And especially may the love of Christ constrain me to love my neighbour as myself. May this grace preserve me from envy, censoriousness, and ill-will, and so mould my temper and character, that I shall be meek and forbearing, disinterested and self-denying, and steadfast and kind, in all my intercourse with mankind. Blessed God, let it not be bounded by narrow limits, but be as expansive as the length and breadth of the world, and take into the bosom of its sympathies the whole family of man.
O thou Sovereign of Destinies, hasten that time when charity shall fill the hearts and control the conduct of all men; when anger, and malice, and revenge shall have fled away for ever; when nations shall learn war no more, and Jesus, the Prince of Peace, shall reign over an undisturbed empire of love.
Preserve me, O Holy One, from impurity in thought, in word, and in action. Grant that a sense of thy holiness and thine omniscience may so rest upon me, that I may walk in the Spirit, and not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. May I set a watch upon my lips, that no corrupt communication may proceed out of my mouth—and make a covenant with my eyes, that they may not pamper forbidden wishes—and throw a guard around my heart, that it may not devise wicked imaginations. Enable me to put away all uncleanriess, and to glorify thee in my body and spirit, which are thine.
God of Justice, enter not into judgment with our land for the foul impurity which covers it. If thou wert strict to mark its iniquity, thou wouldst bring over it the besom of desolation, and make it a monument of reproach. O lead us, in thy mercy, to the use of such measures as shall subvert the dominion of licentiousness, and establish purity of heart, speech, and conduct. Lord, thou knowest whether the means which have been employed, by social and open action, for the suppression of that destroying vice, are according to thy holy will. If they are, O give them abundant success. But if they are not, cause them to be laid aside, and teach thy people what they may do that will secure thy blessing. Correct, elevate, and inform public opinion in relation to the destroying evils of lewdness. Make the libertine a scorn and reproach in every society. O preserve those that are still pure; and let them not go down the pathways of disgrace and destruction. Cleanse our land and the world from this vile leprosy which destroys health, and happiness, and virtue : and bring over it a reformation that shall be total abstinence from impurity of every name.
Lord, I thank thee that thou dost suffer little children to come unto thee, and that thou dost perfect praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. I would praise thee that thy saving truth, while it is fitted to fill the minds of angels with the most exalted knowledge, can be learned, and understood, and felt by children; and that many such have known its power, and have spoken in their feeble accents of its
excellence in their life and death, and are now enjoying the fruits of its redemption in the courts above. Lord, for the sake of the compassionate and prevailing Redeemer, increase that cloud of witnesses. May many remember their Creator in the days of their youth, and increase in wisdom and in favour with God. Be thou the guide of their youth, and satisfy them early with thy mercies, that they may rejoice and be glad all the days of their lives.
God of Grace, I would praise thee for what thou hast done and art doing, through the labours of thy people, for the rising generation. Multiply the number and increase the efficacy of these efforts. Enable parents to make an unreserved dedication of their offspring to the Lord, and train them up in the way they should go, that when they are old, they shall not depart from it. May all who have any influence over youth, devote their most zealous labours that they may be made wise unto salvation, through the faith which is in Christ Jesus. And grant, I pray thee, that thy Church may regard them as the hope of the world, and bend all her energies of faith, and love, and zeal, that the rising generation may be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Heavenly Father, incline the hearts of children to fulfil their duties to their parents. Teach them that they are bound by the laws of natural affection, and the ties of gratitude, to honour their father and mother—which is also the will of God, and the first commandment with promise. O, how often are the authority and peace of parents disregarded or violated by those for whom they have spent their property, and time, and anxieties; and to whom they have looked for comfort and support in declining age. Lord, do thou make every child feel its obligations to keeps its father's commandment, and to forsake not the law of its mother; but to bind them continually upon the heart, and to obey them in reverence and love.—[See Early Piety, Sabbath Schools, Youth.]
Heavenly Father, assist me to exercise those feelings of grateful devotion which are suitable to this day which has been set apart by so many of thy followers, in memory of the birth of thy well beloved Son. Grant me enlarged and soul moving views of all that relates to the glorious plan of salvation through a Redeemer.
Unfold to my mind, I beseech thee, the deep depravity and lost estate into which our guilty race had fallen. The whole head was sick, and the whole heart faint: and from the sole of the foot even unto the head, there was no moral soundness in it; but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores! All flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth ; and the whole world was guilty before God. Lord, thou wast angry with the wicked every day: thy curse was in their house; and thy wrath treasured up for them perdition in the day of thy wrath. O, if thou hadst not laid help upon one mighty to save, all men would have had their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Gracious God, make me sensible of that love whereby thou didst give thine only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life—and which thou hast commended to us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Though thou hast shown thy loving kindness in the works of creation and in the developments of providence, in this thou hast gathered as into a bright and burning centre, the matchless proof of thy good will to man. O, the breadth and length and depth and height of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.
Lord, make me to know the excellencies of Christ's glory, and the depths of his humiliation. Though he dwelt in the bosom of the Father and inhabited the praises of eternity, and exercised the powers of the Godhead, yet he took upon him our sinful nature, was born in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross; and was buried, and continued under the power of death for a time. Teach me that he was thus made sin for me, that I might be made the righteousness of God in him.
O God, show me that though he thus gave his life a ransom for many, still there is none who can have redemption through his blood without the convincing, renewing and sanctifying power of thy grace. Lord, make me know my sin and my need of a Saviour, dispose me to turn away from all my transgressions, and to lay hold of the hope set before me in the gospel.
Lord, impress on my heart the features of Christ's lovely and perfect character. May I learn of him who was meek and lowly, kind and patient, obedient and forgiving, wise and holy. Let the same mind which was in him be also in me. Show me that he is glorified in the bodies and spirits of them whom thou has given to him ; and that if any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his. May the grace which has brought salvation, teach me to deny ungodliness and to work righteousness, that his image, destroyed by the fall, may be renewed in me, and that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in my mortal flesh.
God of Grace, excite my faith in this blessed Saviour by clear visions of that heavenly glory which he has prepared for those that love him. O, thanks be unto thy name, thou hast not only redeemed thy saints from the fearful penalties of guilt and the wretched dominion of sin, but thou hast given them thine unfailing promise, that they shall go into life eternal, and dwell before thy throne, and serve thee day and night in thy temple. Lord, grant that through his merits, an entrance may be ministered unto me abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Merciful Father, persuade the ungodly, who are rejecting the Saviour, that without his atoning righteousness their souls must endure the perdition of eternal death; while through his blood they may have remission of sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified. Reconcile them unto thyself through him, not imputing their trespasses unto them. O dispose them to join with fulness of heart, that heavenly anthem which heralded his birth in our nature—" Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men."
Great Shepherd of Israel, I thank thee that thou hast established thy church on the earth, and hast put the seal of thy redeeming grace on it, and hast promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I would praise thee that he who is thy fulness, has been made head over all things to his church, which is his body, and which he has redeemed by his blood out of every kindred, aS£v tongue, and people, and nation. ~
Lord, dispose me to sustain all the relations which I bear to thy heritage. Suffer me not to withdraw, in any degree, from the fellowship of the saints, in their profession of faith in the Lord Jesus. Thou hast commanded that fellowship; thou hast adapted it to our social nature; thou hast made it the stream of our consolation, the wall of our safety, and the field of our usefulness.—May I love to seek thy face in the tabernacles of the righteous, and worship thee there in spirit and in truth. May I cherish the reputation, and welcome the instructions, and encourage the labours of those whom thou hast set to minister in holy things. Lead me, O Lord, to seek the interest of thy church in its purity, peace, knowledge, and universal dominion.
Lord, cause all thy people to strive for the welfare of Zion. May they mourn over her desolations, and rejoice when her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burneth. May they feel deeply humbled at their want of personal holiness, and at their neglect in extending the blessings of salvation to a perishing world. Let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity. May the sons of God be blameless, and harmless, and without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation ; among whom may they shine, as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life. Make them a peculiar people, zealous of good works. May they have the pleasure of seeing thy work prospering in their hands, and multitudes added to their number, of such as shall be saved. Arise, and have mercy on Zion : let the time to favour her, yea, the set time come. 0, King of
narshal, and discipline, and strength-
f the sacramental host, and lead it on
I to conquer, until the kingdoms of
become the kingdoms of our Lord
and he shall reign for ever and ever.
COMMUNION WITH GOD.
Gracious God, grant that I may hold communion of spirit with thee the Father of Spirits. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so may my soul pant after thee. Draw near to me, in thy mercy, while I attempt to approach thee; and do thou manifest thyself unto me, as thou dost not unto the world. Cause me to walk with thee, as did thy saints of old ; and for this end teach me thy will, that I may acquaint myself with thee, and be at peace. Shed thy grace upon my heart, and cause my affections to be fixed on thee, as the highest and noblest object of love. May thy works, and thy word, and all the means of grace, be always channels of thy blessings to me, and motives for gratitude and obedience unto thee.—Lord, lift thou the light of thy countenance upon me. Make thine abode with me; and let my heart be a temple of the Holy Ghost. Give me that spirit of adoption by which I may cry, " Abba, Father." May I be persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate me from thy love which is in Christ Jesus. Give me such a sense of pardoned sin, as shall fill me with holy joys and strong purposes of new obedience to thy will. Grant me in these seasons of sweet converse with thee, those blessings which are spiritual in their nature, satisfying in their possession, and eternal in their continuance.
Lord, vouchsafe that my fellowship with thee maybe sought only through him who is the way, the truth, and the life ; for no man cometh unto the Father but by him. Let the communion of thy Holy Spirit rest upon me, and abide within me, now, henceforth, and for ever,
COMMUNION OF SAINTS.
Heavenly Father, dispose me, in gladness and singleness of heart, to keep the fellowship of the saints. May I have more relish for their company, though they may be poor and unhonoured, than for fellowship with those who are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Make my communion with them, pleasant and profitable to my soul. May I feel that we are all children of the same parent; brethren of the same family; subjects of the same discipline of trials and duties; and heirs of the same inheritance beyond the grave. Incline me to love their persons, their character, and their interests—rejoicing with them that do rejoice, and weeping with them that weep—ministering to their necessities—holding converse with them in the grace of God—seeking not to please myself, but bearing their infirmities and burdens—and so fulfilling the law of Christ, who hath given us a new commandment, that we love one another.
Lord, teach me that my habits of life and my reputation will be determined by the company I keep. Make me ever mindful that evil communications are full of corruption, and that the companion of fools shall be destroyed. Make me holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. O let me not enter the path of the wicked, nor follow a multitude to do evil. But when I am called, in the exercise of social or religious duties, among the impenitent, enable me to seek by kindness, and persuasion, and example, to win them to the obedience of faith. Make me, O Lord, a companion of them that fear thee and keep thy precepts. May I desire more the fellowship of them that are lowly and poor in spirit, than of those who are rich in this world's goods, while their hearts are strangers to the love of God. Preserve me, I pray thee, from every unholy association, and lead me to seek the communion of thy saints, that we may be comforted together by our mutual faith.
CONDESCENSION OF GOD.
Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him ; or the son of man, that thou visitest him ? Thou art infinite in all thy perfections, and needest not our praises nor services to increase thy happiness and glory. If our guilty race had continued even as thou didst create it, (but a little lower than the angels,) we must have praised thee for thy condescension in nourishing and governing us; but now, that we have lifted the arm of rebellion against thee, and have steeped our souls in transgression, how greatly is thy condescension magnified in pursuing us with thy mercies, in providing for our wants, in protecting and delivering us from evil; and above all, in offering to redeem us from our lost estate by the sacrifice of thy Son. He, who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. He, who was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. He, who from eternity knew no pain, sweat great drops of blood and suffered unspeakable agony, that we might escape the wrath to come—the worm that never dieth, and the fire that is never quenched. O help me, God of Grace, to acknowledge thine undeserved and astonishing mercy. May it draw me closer to thee in the bonds of love and confidence, and seal me for thy service, in a covenant never to be forsaken.
Holy One of Israel, help me, I beseech thee, to confess before thee my unworthiness and ill-desert. To whom but to thee should I go with the recital of my transgressions; for it is against thee, thee only, I have sinned. Thou hast said that he who covereth his sins shall not prosper; while he who confesseth and forsaketh them shall find mercy. If I say, " I have no sin," I deceive myself, and the truth is not in me; but if I confess my sins, thou art faithful and just to forgive them, and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
O Lord, I have sinned against thee in doing what thou hast forbidden, and in leaving undone what thou hast commanded. I have transgressed thy law and gospel, in thought, word, and deed. I have sinned in childhood, in youth, and in riper years. I would acknowledge with shame and sorrow, my vanity and selfishness, my pride and hypocrisy, my impatience and unbelief, my self-indulgence and selfrighteousness, my neglect of thy service and glory, and my living to myself, and not unto thee. How often has my heart rebelled against thy wholesome discipline in affliction, or impiously forgotten thy dispensing hand in the enjoyment of mercies. O, I have in countless instances, backslidden from thy love, broken my covenants with thee, and brought dishonour on thy name. And yet such has been the hardness of my heart, that I have mourned but little over such transgressions.
O Lord, these my sins have been protracted through long years which thou hast crowned with forbearance and mercy. They are heavy and black with enormous guilt, because they were committed in the midst of light and knowledge. My transgressions are more numerous than the hairs of my head ; and if thou wert strict to mark one in a thousand of them, I could not stand before thee. My iniquities are increased over my head, and my trespasses are grown up to the heavens. Lord, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth, and put my mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope. God be merciful to me a sinner.
CONFIDENCE IN GOD.
O Lord, Jehovah, thou art the strength of all that put their trust in thee. Thou art boundless in wisdom, omnipotent in power, and infinite in goodness. Thou dost not withhold any good thing from him that walketh uprightly. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water; that bringeth forth his fruit in his season ; his leaf also shall not wither. Whatsoever he docth shall prosper; and the end of that man is peace.
Lord, if thou art my light and salvation, whom shall I fear? If thou art my strength, of whom shall I be afraid ? Enable me, I pray thee, to trust in thee with all my heart; and keep me from leaning on my own understanding. May I cast all my cares upon thee in perils, in wants, in losses, in griefs, in sickness, and in death. Cause me to hear thy voice in every variety of tribulation, saying unto me, " What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter." I would remember that oft when I said, " My foot slippeth," thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the day when I cried, thou didst answer and strengthen me. May the memory of thy past goodness, the possession of present joys, and the testimonies of thy promises persuade me, that though the mountains depart and the hills be removed, thy kindness doth not depart from thee, neither is the covenant of thy peace removed.
God of Israel, inspire thy people with unlimited and unwavering reliance on thy character, dealings, and purposes. May they learn that the word of the Lord endureth for ever. Let them not cast away their confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. As thou didst not withhold thine own Son, but didst deliver him up for them, O cause them to hope that with him thou wilt freely give them all things. Lord, let them never forget that thou makest all things work together for good to them that love thee. Although the fig-tree may not blossom, neither fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive fail, and the fields yield no meat; the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—yet may they rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of their salvation.
God of Judgment, I thank thee that thou hast given me an inward monitor, to warn me against iniquity, and to smite me when I transgress. Enable me, I pray thee, to nourish and culture this plant of thy hand. Show me that my happiness and welfare, and the enjoyment of thy life-giving countenance, will depend on the activity, strength, and purity of my conscience. May thy will, as exhibited in thy word, be the supreme rule of its actings. May thy Spirit cleanse it from error and sin, and animate it with right knowledge and holy power. Lord, give it peace through the justifying merits of Jesus Christ, and purge it from dead works to serve the living God. Make it tender and watchful, and a faithful index of thy sovereign will, that it may be void of offence towards God and man.
Lord, stimulate and give a wholesome vigour to the conscience of all men. May it exercise a controlling and righteous influence over their inmost thoughts and their outward actions. Teach them that though they may turn away from its testimonies, and stifle its chidings, yet there is a day coining when, if they continue impenitent, it will rise up in judgment against them ; when he that sitteth upon the throne will confirm its testimony, by pronouncing the verdict " Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
Enable me, O Lord, through the grace of Jesus, to follow thee fully. May I act in all things, worthy of the vocation wherewith I am called, and strive to be of those who by patient continuance in well-doing seek eternal life. Thou art entitled to my fullhearted and consistent obedience. O may that obedience be without reserve and without hypocrisy. Let me not call thee " Lord, Lord," and yet do not the things which thou sayest. Make my walk the index of my heart, and make my heart right in thy
sight. Give me oil for my lamp, that when the Bridegroom cometh, I may go forth in joy to meet him. May I remember that he who gathereth not with thee, scattereth abroad. Let me never do evil that good may come. When I would do good, let not evil be present with me: let not the law in my members war against the law of my mind, and bring me into captivity to the law of sin. I beseech thee to give me strength to cleave to thy service steadfastly in penury and in plenty, in persecution and in peace. May my light shine in evil report and in good report. And, 0 Lord, let it be as the path of the just which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Great Sovereign of heaven and earth, thou art infinitely wise and good in all the allotments of thy providence. I pray thee teach me in whatever state I am therewith to be content. Keep me, O Lord, from envy, from avarice, from ambition, from anxiety, and from murmuring. May I remember it was discontent that brought death into the world, and all its woes. Make me content with such things as I have; for thou hast said thou wilt never leave nor forsake me, if I put my trust in thee. May mine be the prayer of Agur—" Give me neither poverty nor riches; lest I be full, and deny thee; or be poor, and steal, and take thy name in vain." Let me not forget that the love of money is the root of evil. They who will be rich fall into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. Make my soul satisfied in the midst of losses and afflictions. May I be ever ready to say— " The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away : blessed be the name of the Lord."
Heavenly Father, discipline me so by thy grace, that I shall be careful for nothing, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, make known my requests unto thee. Let me not trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth me all things richly to enjoy. Show me that human happiness consists not in the abundance of worldly treasure, but in godliness, which with contentment is great gain. I am not worthy of the least of thy mercies; wherefore then should 1 complain 1 I brought nothing into the world, and I can carry nothing out; let me therefore look not at things which are seen and temporal, but at things which are not seen and that are eternal. May thy great and precious promises give me more comfort than fhe wicked have when their corn and wine do most abound. Induce me, O Lord, to seek my portion where the righteous obtain joy and gladness, and where murmuring and sorrow shall flee away for ever.
O thou that hearest and answerest prayer, grant me, for Christ's sake, that contrite heart, which in thy sight is of sreat price. Show me my guilt, as committed against thee, my Maker, Governor, and Benefactor. Lead me to abhor myself, and to repent in dust and ashes. May I look on him whom I have pierced, and mourn, and be in bitterness. Lord, I would acknowledge my transgressions: O may my sins be ever before me. I thank thee for thy promise, that thou wilt dwell with him that is of an humble and contrite heart. Prepare my heart for thine abode. According unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out all my transgressions. Create within me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me by thy free Spirit: then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Lord, I would come to thee, in the name of Christ, that I may learn the necessity, the nature, and the fruits of regeneration. O wilt thou fasten on my mind, abiding convictions that the carnal mind is at enmity against thee, and that all mankind are by nature the children of wrath, and receive not the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness to them ; neither can they learn them, for they are spiritually discerned. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Show me, O Lord, that if any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature: old things are passed away ; all things are become new. He has put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him who created him, in righteousness and true holiness. It is thou, God of Mercy, who workest in such to will and to do, of thine own good pleasure: not by works which they have done, but according to thy mercy, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. They are born, not of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God, who only giveth repentance unto life, and the earnest of that Spirit whereby they are sealed until the day of redemption.
Teach me, O Lord, that they who have been born from above bring forth fruits, meet for repentance: that they add to faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity: and that these, abounding in them, cause them that they be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Saviour. They are made free from sin, and have become servants unto God, having their fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Blessed Saviour, give me evidence in my heart and conduct, that I have passed from death unto life; that having been convinced of my sin and misery, I have had my mind enlightened in the knowledge of thee, my will renewed, and have been persuaded and enabled to embrace thee, as thou art freely offered in the Gospel. Let me not be satisfied with the form of godliness, without its life-giving power. Search me,
0 Lord, and try me; and see if there be any evil way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Create in me a new heart and renew a right spirit within me. Grant me forgiveness of sins, and enable me to look forward with a rejoicing hope to an inheritance among them that are sanctified. Vouchsafe unto me, I pray thee, the testimony of thy Spirit, that
1 have been redeemed by thy grace. O, if thou hast begun a good work in me, continue it unto the end ; and let thy grace be in me as a well of living water, springing up into everlasting life.
Lord, convince the impenitent of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. Thou hast no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, and thou art not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. O lead many to inquire what they must do to be saved. May thy law be a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ, that they may be justified by
faith. Persuade them to believe in that only name by which sinners can be saved. May they be born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible ; by the word of God, which Iiveth and abideth for ever.
Lord, enable me to add to faith christian fortitude. May I endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Give me grace to encounter and subdue the corruptions of my own heart; and in that conflict between the flesh and the spirit, may I come off more than conqueror through him that hath loved me.— Strengthen me that I may resist the allurements of a world lying in iniquity, and that I may strive against the fear of man ; remembering that whosoever will deny Jesus before men, shall be denied by him before the Father in heaven. May I always be ready to answer every man that asketh me a reason of the hope that is in me—Make me strong in the power of thy might; fori am not called to wrestle against flesh and blood merely, but against principalities and powers, against spiritual wickednesses in high places. Great Captain of Salvation, give me the girdle of truth, the breast-plate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit; and having thus the whole armour of God, may I be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
Adorable Jehovah, I would praise thee that, in thy sovereign mercy, thou didst from eternity enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver men out of their estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer. Lord, make with me this everlasting covenant, even the sure mercies of David. Call me with a holy calling; not according to works, but according to thy purpose, which was given in Christ Jesus before the world began; but has now been made manifest by his appearing, who hath brought life and immortality to light through thy gospel: and in whom we have redemption, through his blood. O bind me to thee in the adoption of thy children, wherein thou makest them accepted in the Beloved. Put thy law into my mind, and write it in my heart; and be my God, that I may be of thy people, chosen according to thy covenant of grace. Make my heart and life abundant in the fruits of that holy relation. Let me not forsake thy love, nor turn from thy ways, but press on towards the mark for the prize of that high calling which is in Christ Jesus.
Merciful God, regard with compassion those who are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise. Make them feel the deep and radical depravity of their hearts. Convince them of sin, as committed against a holy God. Show them the danger to which they arc exposed while they refuse to forsake their transgressions. Exhibit to them Christ crucified, as him by whom alone they can escape from the dominion, the guilt and the retribution of their sins. O may thy Spirit give them grace to receive and rest upon him for pardon and acceptance. And grant that they may enjoy a union with him as close and fruitful as the branch which abideth in the vine.
Preserve me, Great Helper, from the vice of covetousness, which is idolatry. 0 let me not worship filthy lucre instead of the living God. May I remember the judgment of the valley of Achor, on him who coveted forbidden spoil; and the swift destruction of them that kept back part of the price, and agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord. Let me not dishonour my faith in thee, nor blight my spiritual comfort, nor bring disgrace on thy cause in the eyes of the world by indulging in this wickedness. Give me full contentment with my own condition, and a right and charitable frame of spirit towards my neighbour and all that is his. Banish from my mind all discontentment with my own estate; all envying and grieving at the good of my neighbour, and all inordinate emotions and affections to any thing that is his.
Help me, O Lord, to overcome the love of the world. May I seek thy favour as the chief good of life, and say in my heart—" there is none on earth I desire beside thee." Lead me to look with the eye of benevolence on the wants of my fellow creatures; and in supplying them, as thou hast prospered me, to find that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Let me not seek to lay up treasures on earth, but in heaven, where moth and rust do not corrupt, and where thieves cannot break through and steal.
Lord, redeem thy church from this vice, which has spotted her garments and tainted her blood and crippled her energies. How long, Blessed Saviour, shall they who have covenanted to be thine, bow the knee at the golden shrine of mammon? Show them that covetousness degrades their immortal nature, breaks thy holy law, and is the fruitful source of manifold iniquity. Keep them from those graspings of avarice, those daring speculations and greedy monopolies which are the offspring of pride and the fountains of misery. May they thus judge, that if Christ has bought them by his own precious blood, they should not live for themselves, but for him. Excite thy people, O Lord, to active and unwearying benevolence. As thou hast made them the stewards of thy multiplied mercies, let none forget to do good and to communicate ; for with such sacrifices thou art well pleased. May they cease to do evil and learn to do well; and labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life.
Great Builder of the Universe, in the beginning thou didst make the heaven and the earth; and by thee were all things created, that are in heaven and earth, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers. Thou didst speak, and it was done: thou didst command, and it stood fast.—Lord, thou didst make man in thine own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, with dominion over the creatures. But man being in honour abode not. He fell from that holy and happy estate, in which he was created, by sinning against God; and now all that dwell upon the face of the earth are by nature the children of wrath: yea, the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain because of transgression. O God, redeem the works of thy power from thei r degeneracy. May this earth be renewed with the beauty of Eden. Breathe thou into man the breath of life, and make him a new creature in Christ Jesus.
Lord, assist me to acknowledge thy power, wisdom and goodness as they are shown in the works of thy hands. Day unto day uttereth speech concerning thee, and night unto night bringeth forth knowledge of thee: yea, all thy works praise thee. O let my tongue and my soul join the chorus of creation, and praise thee in songs of rejoicing and in newness of life.