Great God, I thank thee for those powers of mind thou hast bestowed on the human race, which raise us so far above the brutes that perish, and which fit us to acquire and use rational knowledge. Lord, make me understand and practice the duties which belong to the possession of these powers. I pray thee, cultivate suitably in me, each of the faculties of my mind. Enlighten my judgment, strengthen my memory, and inform my understanding. Keep me from error, and guide me into truth. Especially do thou grant me, O Lord, that wisdom which leads to salvation. Instruct me in all the duties I owe to men, to myself, and to thee. While I am careful to educate my faculties, make me mindful of the weakness and failings of human judgment. Let me not lean on my own understanding, but trust in the living God. O do thou so discipline my thoughts, that I may be fitted to enjoy the pleasures of knowledge in that holy region, where there is no cloud of ignorance nor of error, and where the light of truth fills and surrounds all its blessed inhabitants.
Knowledge Of God.—See Omniscience.
Law or God.
I thank thee, Great God, for that law of nature, impressed on my conscience, by which I am left without excuse in the transgression of thy will. But I would praise thee still more, that thou hast given me the law of thy word, to warn, to restrain, to convince me of sin, and to lead me in the ways that are well-pleasing in thy sight. Thy commandment, O Lord, is holy, just, and good. Thou art holy; and thy law is perfect, converting the soul—thou art just; wherefore thy judgments are true and righteous altogether—thou art good; and thy statutes rejoice the heart; for in keeping them there is great reward. Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law until all be fulfilled.
Incline me, O Lord, to take heed to my ways, according to thy word. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Make thou thy testimonies my delight and counsellors ; my songs in the house of my pilgrimage, and the daily monitors of my conduct. May I make thy will my meditation by day, and my remembrance in the night. Make it a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path; and do thou incline my heart to perform thy statutes always, even to the end. Impress deeply on my mind that solemn truth—whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all.
Lord, teach me that thy commandment is exceeding broad and deep: that it has relation not only to the actions of life, but to the hidden workings of thought and feeling. For though the sound of my lips, and the work of my hands, may be right before men; yet thy statutes may condemn the thoughts of my heart; and I may stand more guilty in thy sight for secret sin, than for open violations of thy will.
Heavenly Father, let not my regard for thy commandment create within me a spirit of self-righteousness: for in the trial of thy justice, every mouth shall be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God. Make it a schoolmaster to bring me to Christ, as my only hope of justification. May I remember, that while it is the rule of my obedience, it is not the plan of salvation. He who came to fulfil it, is himself the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
O Lord, make thy law the sword of the Spirit in thy dealings with the impenitent. May it awaken and alarm their consciences, enlighten and convince their minds, and persuade and sanctify their wills; so that they may be born, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible; by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Lord, keep me from levity of spirit and behaviour* Thou knowest my proneness to this sin, and how ready I am to yield to that frivolity which characterizes the careless and unconverted, and which is so inconsistent with the sober realities of the christian life. Help me, I beseech thee, through the Saviour, to repent of it, and so to turn away from it in future, as to avoid the appearance of evil.
Lord, let not my thoughts cherish those subjects which excite levity of speech or action. ' Assist me to keep my heart with all diligence, that my every thought, and word, and deed may be the sober fruit of a holiness, engraven on my soul and wrought in my life, by the power of the Holy Ghost. I pray thee especially, to lay a restraint on my tongue, that unruly member; and dispose me to avoid studiously saying any thing which may dissipate serious impressions, or make me a stumbling block in the path of others, or cause the ways of religion to be despised or reviled. Enable me to attain and cultivate that happy medium between moroseness and frivolity, that calm seriousness of mind and holy cheerfulness of life, which will diffuse a savour of piety in all I say and do.
O let the solemn truth, that thou God seest me, pursue me not only in my seasons of devotion, but in all the hours of my intercourse with mankind.— Make me realize that the eyes of the church and the world are upon me, and that according as I demean myself, so will the cause of religion be advanced or hindered.—Seriously impress on my mind, that a disposition to trifle is a fruitful cause of disquietude in the soul and of delinquency in the life.—Show me that the rational faculties with which thou hast endowed me, were given for higher and holier purposes, than for indulgence in a light and frivolous demeanour.—Let a sense of thy presence control me to live as becometh one professing godliness.— O incline me, I pray thee, to order all my walk and conversation, so that I may be a living illustration of the sober influences of piety.
Lord, increase my gratitude to thee for the blessings of liberty. While millions of the human race are groaning under the yoke of oppression, thou hast, in undeserved mercy, given to me the privileges of civil and religious freedom. O let me not abuse them, nor deny them to others who are destitute of them. Give me strong sympathy for the down-trodden of every name and nation. Dispose me to desire, and pray, and labour for the extension of freedom to all mankind. Enlighten the consciences and cleanse the hearts of all men in relation to the great doctrines of human rights. Do thou fan, and purify, and spread the fire of truth, until it shall melt off every fetter from every limb— until deliverance shall be preached to all the captives, and liberty be proclaimed to all the oppressed.
O Lord, release men every where, from the bondage of sin. Break the yoke of Satan, of the world, and of selfishness. May thy Son make mankind free, and they shall be free indeed : so shall they be servants to God only, that their fruit may be holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Lord, grant, for Christ's sake, that I may feel the
uncertainty and shortness of human life. We are but of yesterday, and our days upon earth are a shadow. Our breath is in our nostrils : it is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. Teach me that my span of life is given me as my probation for eternity. Grant therefore, that I may walk circumspectly ; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. While I grow in age, enable me to grow in grace. While I travel through this wilderness, guide me by the fierycloudy pillar, feed my hunger with manna from heaven, and quench my thirst with water from the smitten rock. Lord, let me not be anxious for length of days ; nor grow weary of my season of trial. Make me contented that my times are in thy hands. Give me, I beseech thee, in all the vicissitudes of life, such preparation of heart, that whether I live, I may live to the Lord; and whether I die, I may die to the Lord: so that whether living or dying, I may be the Lord's.
Heavenly Father, may the considerations that life is short, and that it involves the destinies of eternity, excite those. who are now thoughtless about their eternal peace, to number their days, that they may apply their hearts unto wisdom: even that wisdom which will lead them to live, not unto themselves, but unto him who died for them ; and which will also prepare them to depart, and be with Christ, which is far better.
Lord's Supper. Compassionate Jehovah, give me lively perceptions of the nature and uses of that holy Supper, which thou hast instituted in memory of the dying Saviour. May it always be to the eye of my faith, a token and pledge of a covenant of mercy in the blood of Christ. Let it ever be my Eucharist—my giving of thanks to thee, from a heart overflowing with gratitude, that thou didst recover man from his condition of sin and misery, by the gift of a Redeemer. Make it my Passover, in which my soul shall be made joyful, in being exempted from the wrath which abideth on the ungodly. O let it be the Sacrament of that allegiance to thy cause, which will lead me to rejoice when I am counted worthy to suffer shame for thy name's sake; and to glory in nothing save in the cross of Christ. Make it a Feast, at which he shall sup with me, and I with him ; and in which my heart shall be refreshed by his spiritual presence. And O do thou make it a precious season of Communion, wherein I shall hold fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and be knit with closer bands of unity to them that are of the household of faith.
Lord Jesus, help me to keep this ordinance in remembrance of thee. Give me knowledge to discern thy body, and faith to feed upon thee. Grant me repentance, love, and new obedience; lest coming unworthily, I eat and drink judgment to myself. Make me a partaker of thy body and blood, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith ; with all thy benefits, to my spiritual nourishment and growth in grace. Grant me comfort from this feast, when I am wounded by a sense of sin; for thou wast revealed to take away sin : give me patience in trials and afflictions, by looking at thee, enduring the contradiction of sinners, and the hidings of thy Father's love: and O grant that I may imbibe a
holy hatred for transgression, when I look at thy body broken and thy blood shed, because I have sinned.—Blessed Jesus, crowned in light and glory, dost thou indeed desire us sinners to remember thee 1 O that we should ever forget our Teacher, our Priest, and our King ! O help me to remember the glory thou didst leave, the flesh thou didst adopt, the reproach thou didst meet, and the sufferings thou didst endure, that I might be redeemed from the curse of the law, and be made a partner of thine inheritance in glory!
Heavenly Father, make thy people feel their obligation to celebrate the Supper of the Lord. Thou hast commanded it, and made it the badge of their discipleship. Thou hast set it forth to be the memorial of a Saviour's love, in which they show forth his death, before heaven and earth. And thou hast made it a special season of communion with thee, in thy banqueting-house, when thy banner over them is love.—O may they always be prepared for this service, by self-examination, by meditation, and prayer: and so let them eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. May they resolve, upon that sacred altar, that they will renounce every transgression, and live only for that which is good in thy sight. Give them an affectionate and confiding trust in thy covenant of grace ,* and build them up, by means of this ordinance, through faith unto salvation.
Lord, grant that the impenitent my reflect that if they eat not the flesh of the Son of man, and drink not his blood, they shall have no part nor lot in his salvation. May thy Spirit reveal Christ to them in the breaking of bread, in all his fulness and willingness as a Saviour. 0 may they be persuaded to make with him a covenant of mercy and obedience, which shall never be revoked nor forsaken.
These petitions I offer thee, Gracious Father, through him whose blood speaketh better things than that of Abel; and who sitteth at thy right hand, to make intercession, and receive the service and adoration of saints and angels for ever.
LOVE TO GOD.
Exalted Jehovah, thou art worthy, both by thy nature and dealings, of the strongest love of all thy rational creatures. Thou art perfect in alt the attributes of thy character. No ignorance impairs thy wisdom ; no error perverts thy justice; no falsehood clouds thy truth; no spot stains thy holiness. Thou art moreover, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness. O that the language of my heart might always be—" Whom have I in heaven but thee; and there is none on earth I desire besides thee." Be thou my Alpha and Omega; my morning praise; my noon-day thought; my evening prayer ; and my waking meditation.
Blessed Jesus, help me that I may love thee with all my heart, and soul, and strength, and mind. I' desire to cherish the memory of thine example and instructions, thy benevolence and promises, as the dearest objects of thought. O may my affection for thee, urge me to advance thy glory, to desire to be conformed to thine image, to seek communion with thee, and to love thy house, thine ordinances, thy word, and thy people. But let me not think that any strength of attachment can merit thy love to me ; for O thine acceptance of my love is one of the crowniug gills of undeserved mercy.
Glorious God, may thy saints bring thee the full tribute of their hearts. Let the constant bearing of their thoughts be unto thee, and the remembrance of thy name. Fill their hearts with gratitude to thee, and lead them to seek thee with delight in all the exercises of religion. May they rejoice in thy word, as the index of thy will; and take pleasure in thy people, as the excellent of the earth; and seek the glory of Christ more than the favour of man, or the love of the world.
Lord, bring those who are now at enmity with thee, to esteem and desire thee as their chief good. Cast out their selfishness and aversion, and take the dominion of their hearts, that they may be able to say, the Lord is their portion, and his love the fulness of their joy.
LOVE OF GOD.
God is love. Yes, thou art good, and thou Iovest to do good. The eyes of all are unto thee, and thou givest them' their meat in due season: thou openest thy hand, and satisfiest the desires of every living thing. Thy tender mercies are over all thy works, and thy goodness is seen in all thy ways. But thou hast most commended thy love to us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Here it is beyond parallel; it transcends the strongest effort of thought; and it is above blessing and praise. This is the bright and glorious centre of thy good will to man, around which every other token of thy mercy gathers.—I would praise thee, Lord, for the common and special benefits of thy providence, and for that wise arrangement of the laws of nature, which promotes the happiness and well-being of thy creatures : yet I would offer thee louder strains of praise, and stronger feelings of gratitude, for thy compas
sion to our souls, in revealing thy will, in teaching us the issues of eternity, in giving thy Son to bear our iniquities, and in bestowing thy Spirit, to convince us of sin, to enlighten our minds in the knowledge of truth, and to persuade us to except the plan of salvation.—Forbid it, O God, that I should ever forget or undervalue thy favours which are past; or that I should doubt thy suretiship of compassion for the future. Continue to manifest thyself unto me as thou dost not unto the world. Enrich thou my soul with the fulness of thy love, now, henceforth, and for ever.
O Lord, why should there be any so carnallyminded, as to be at enmity against thee, the God of love? Show them thy rich goodness, and their own dark ingratitude. Make them feel that this world has no charms when compared with that full tide of affection which flows from the heart of God towards them that put their trust in him. O make many such the partners of thy loving-kindness in Jesus, which is unto eternal life.
LOVE TO MAN.
Lord, I pray thee, for Christ's sake, to make my heart a well-spring of affection to all mankind. Let no jealousy, nor selfishness, nor anger, nor malice, lead me to forget that every man is my brother. Thou makest thy sun to rise on the evil and on the good ; and sendest rain on the just and on the unjust. Why then should I shut up my compassions from any that are my fellow creatures ? O help me to feel for every want, and to sympathize with every wo, that afflicts humanity. And, I pray thee, dispose me, in benevolence of heart, to do what I can to dry up the fountains of human misery, and to multiply the sources of man's real happiness.
Lord, incline me to love the souls of men. May I have strong pity for those who are thoughtlessly or wilfully destroying their eternal peace; and may I seek to bring them under the influences of the blessed gospel. Grant me that spirit which seeketh not her own, and is not easily provoked, and that rejoiceth in the truth. Cause me to abound in good will to the brotherhood of faith, and to be kindly affectioned towards them in brotherly love. May I seek their company, and be glad in their prosperity, and make common cause with them in all their interests.—Lord, give me, I pray thee, the love of benevolence towards every thing that is capable of happiness or misery, and the affection of complacency towards every creature possessed of holiness.
Lord, I pray thee, through thy grace in Jesus, to preserve me from lukewarmness in my religious duties. Make me feel an interest in them proportioned to their unspeakable importance. Let no worldly influence, no allurement of Satan, no selfish desires, lower the tone of my religious feeling and activity. How long, O Lord, shall I serve thee with an indifferent heart—thee, who hast infinite claims on my most ardent attachment, and whose service should be my chief delight. O rebuke my apathy, and fill me with a holy zeal. Make me fervent in spirit; and whatsoever my hand finds to do, dispose me to do it with my might.
Heavenly Father, guard me against indulging in luxury. Let me not seek to make provision for the flesh,.to fulfil the lust of the eye or the pride of life. Let not my desires go out in anxious pursuit of what I shall eat, or drink, or wherewithal I shall be clothed; nor be unduly set on any of the pomps of sense or vanities of life. May I use this world as not abusing it; remembering that a man's life consists not in the abundance ol the things he possesses. Teach me that earthly indulgences excite pride and sensuality; and that instead of satisfying the heart, they increase, continually, its restless desires for unprofitable and corrupting enjoyments. Lord, thou wilt require it of the souls of those who lay up treasures for themselves, but are not rich towards God. O let me not desire to live in pleasure on the earth, nor nourish my heart as in a day of slaughter. Make me content with a competent portion of the good things of this life, and let me enjoy thy blessing with them. Show me that health of body, peace of mind, and ability and willingness to do good to others, will depend on my abstinence from fleshly lusts.—Lord, be thou to me more than all thine other gifts. Incline me to lay up treasure in heaven, that there my heart may be also.
Lord, keep my heart from the occasional or frequent influence of malice. Let no rivalry and no sense of injury, ever excite me to feelings or acts of malignity. O how infinitely is such a temper opposed to thy holiness; and how nearly does it approach to the hatred which fills the bosoms of the damned 1—Blessed Jesus, bring me into closer likeness to thy precious example. Thou didst not render railing for railing, nor evil for evil; but contra. riwise, blessing. O give me, I pray thee, that spirit of love which worketh no ill to its neighbour; and which looks on the earth, in all its length and breadth, as one neighbourhood—and on all its diversified races, as one brotherhood of man.
Heavenly Parent, thou hast shown both thy wisdom and goodness in the institution of marriage. Thou hast sought by it to increase the happiness and promote the virtue of mankind. The works of thy creation, though good in thy sight, were unfinished while man dwelt alone ; and thy last and best gift to earth. was she that should be a fountain of joy, a partner of pleasure, and a solace of sorrow. Lord, teach all men that this relation of life is still (and must be throughout the annals of time,) identified with the com tort and welfare of our race. O let none with ruthless and impious hand, undermine nor overthrow this ordinance of God ; but may all regard and sustain it as the safeguard of purity, the pledge of social bliss, and the bond of public good.
Lord, reform the opinions and correct the practice of christians in relation to unhallowed marriages. Let none such be unequally yoked with unbelievers. May they marry only in the Lord. Show them that those who ally themselves in sacred ties with the ungodly, rebel against the will of God, cast snares and unhappiness in their way through life, and fearfully hinder the grace of God in their own hearts.
Lord, govern by the dictates of affection, prudence, and piety, those who would enter on the duties and pleasures of matrimony. Bless all who have embarked on them. May their relations be characterized by mutual love, esteem, forbearance, assistance, and sympathy. May the same sincere, ardent, unchangeable, protecting, and providing love, which the Saviour manifests to his spouse, the church, be shown by the husband to his wife. And do thou direct her conduct to him in subjection, reverence, prudence, and love. Lord, make their union conducive to every rational good of human life. Let it be an emblem of the union between Christ and his church ; that they may walk in all the statutes and ordinances of the Lord, blameless, and be made mutual helpers in the fellowship of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
O thou, who art King of Kings and Lord of Lords, bless those who occupy places of authority over their inferiors. Teach them the duties of their stations. Induce masters to give that which is just and equal to their servants, in every thing that relates to courtesy, recompense, and good-will. May they forbear threatening, knowing that their master is in heaven, and that with him there is no respect of persons. May they reflect that though their servants are inferior in rank, they are their equals by nature, equals in the grave, and equals at the throne of judgment.—Show them that the labourer is worthy of his hire: and let no honest wages be kept back by meanness or fraud ; lest the cry of the hireling enter into the ears of the Lord God of Sabaoth, and thou render vengeance for unrequited toil.— Lord, incline the hearts of masters to kindness. Make them careful to avoid unjust exaction of labour, and every display of the pride of rank and authority. Give them patience under provocation ;
and lead them to seek every reasonable comfort for their domestics. And above all, may they strive to promote their spiritual welfare, by setting them a godly example, by giving them full access to the means of grace, and by personal exertions that they may become the servants of God, and heirs of that recompense of reward which liveth and abideth for ever.
MEANS OF GRACE.
Lord, I thank thee for those means of grace which thou hast appointed for the instruction, conviction, conversion, and sanctification of mankind. O bless me, I pray thee, in the enjoyment of them. Make the holy scriptures profitable to me for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. May thy preached gospel bring me glad tidings of good things. Make the holy sacraments means of teaching me the precious love of Christ, and of giving me the washing of regeneration through the Holy Spirit. O cause the exercises of public, social, and private prayer to make me feel my wants, and thine infinite fulness and willingness to supply them. May I sing thy praises with melody of heart. Give me grace to keep the season of fasting or of thanksgiving, so that it may be a time of refreshing from thy presence. Grant me the sanctified use of meditation and self-examination; and lead me to such fellowship with thy saints, as will strengthen my heart and encourage my zeal in the christian race.
Blessed God, I humbly pray thee, that I may use these privileges only as the means, and not as the end, of religion. Make me regard them as the channels through which thou dost vouchsafe to pour the refreshing streams of thy grace. It is the Spirit which gives efficacy to all the appointments of thy mercy. O Lord, make me understand that while I work out my salvation with fear and trembling, it is thou who workest in me both to will and to do, of thine own good pleasure.
Heavenly Father, I would praise and magnify thy name, that thou hast laid help upon one who is mighty to save unto the uttermost, all who come unto thee by him. Though the human race was at enmity with thee, and lay exposed to thy curse, thou didst, in infinite mercy, appoint an Interposer between thee and us, that we, who were alienated and enemies by wicked works, might be reconciled in the body of his flesh, through death. We thank thee that we are not called to that mountain which burned with fire, and was clouded with darkness and tempest; but to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, and to that blood of sprinkling which speaketh better things than that of Abel. O, it was needful that he should be the Son of God; for no other sacrifice could satisfy the demands of infinite justice—and he must needs be the Son of Man; since without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. He who is our eternal Daysman, has infinite fitness for his high and holy office: for in him dwells the fulness of power, wisdom, and mercy.
Blessed Jesus, be thou the propitiation for my sins; and not for mine only, but also for the whole world. O thou who didst become the High Priest of thine own sacrifice, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people, do thou blot out the hand-writing of ordinances that was recorded against me for my trans
gressions—procure for me by thine intercession, the loving-kindness of Jehovah—and bind all my affections to the throne of grace, by that new, and better, and everlasting covenant, which is the fruit of thy wisdom and mercy, and the work of thy power and grace, unto salvation.—Heavenly Father, make the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, and the service of my life, acceptable to thee, through him who is my Strength and my Redeemer.
Blessed Jehovah, enable me to withdraw my thoughts and desires, at frequent seasons, from the things that are seen and temporal, and to fix them on those that are unseen and eternal. O may thy character, in all its variety and fulness, be a rich topic of my meditation. Grant me holy and exalted converse with thine attributes, as they are revealed in thy word, and in thy works of creation, providence, and redemption.—May Jesus be to my soul, the chief among ten thousand, and one altogether lovely.— Draw out my thoughts sweetly and confidingly, to that Holy Spirit, whose work is quietness and assurance for ever.—May I love to dwell upon the law of thy mouth ; and do thou make it better to me than thousands of gold and silver.—Teach me in these hours of reflection, my weakness and sinfulness, and the means by which I may grow in grace, and advance the various interests of thy kingdom.—Help me, O Lord, to fix my thoughts on the shortness of time, the certainty of death, and the undying worth of the soul.
Lord, grant me the presence and blessing of thy Spirit, in these solemn meditations. May the peace of God, which passeth understanding, fill my heart, and make it a fountain of love to God and good-will to man. May my knowledge be refreshed and enlarged. While I muse on holy things, cause the fire to burn within me, until the dross of sin be consumed, and my soul be as gold that has been tried in the furnace. O vouchsafe unto me, rich foretastes of those heavenly contemplations, where no cloud of sense nor of sin shall shut out the light of thy presence, and where there are pleasures for evermore.
Merciful God, impart to me the grace of meekness. Preserve me from the exercise of a violent and overbearing temper. Break down the native stubbornness and resentment of my heart; and give me that child-like spirit which knows no will but that of its heavenly Father. Bestow on me that temper of soul which seeketh not its own selfish good; that is not easily provoked by injury; and that hopeth all things before it thinketh evil of any one. May this state of mind be the working of thy Spirit, teaching me that I am, in myself, weak and sinful, and that thou requirest meekness of spirit in all that would be followers of Christ: for if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Show me that this grace is an ornament of great price in thy sight; and that he who ruleth his own spirit is greater than he who taketh a city; and that he findeth rest for his soul, in learning of him who was meek and lowly in heart. Lord, excite me to seek this heavenly mind, by considering the examples of the patriarchs and prophets, of the apostles, and Jesus Christ, who manifested it. O grant me the blessing of those who inherit the earth ; and whom thou makest the dwelling-place of thy power and mercy.
Lord, sanctify and invigorate, for Jesus' sake, all the actings of my memory. O how has this noble faculty been weakened and corrupted by the fall! But thou canst restore it; and instead of suffering it to run after forbidden and unholy things, thou canst give it exercise on those things w hich belong to wisdom and salvation. Lead me, I pray thee, to remember thee, my Creator, and all thine excellent mercies. May my memory be precious of him who is the way, the truth, and the life. Impress indelibly on my thoughts, the doctrines, precepts, warnings, and promises of thy word. Make me mindful of my transgressions, and let my sin be ever before me. Enable me to bring up in review, the covenants and promises I have made to thee; and lead me to pay unto thee my vows.
O Lord, preserve me from every thing, moral or physical, that will weaken or deprave my memory. Lead me to the use of such means as will promote its strength and purity. May I regard and value it as the store-house of knowledge and comfort; the spring of repentance and hope; and the monitor of thankfulness and faith. May it retain that which is good, and banish that which is evil. Dispose me to practice every holy thing it remembers ; and grant that I may so use this noble power, that I may glorify thee in my body and spirit which are thine.
Great Giver of every good and perfect gift, grant me a sanctifying and saving knowledge of thy mercy. O thou art good and gracious ; slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. Yet thou hast a perfect right to withhold it from us—yea, to visit us with unmixed and irretrievable evil: for we are not only unworthy of the least expression of thy goodness, but we have deserved the strong retributions of thy wrath. Nevertheless, thy goodness has pursued us in all the walks of life. It has stayed, or soothed, or healed the inflictions of merited evil; and it has bestowed on us uncounted tokens of unmerited good. When we have been thoughtless of thee, thou hast been mindful of us: when we have hated thee, thou hast loved us. Verily, thou art long-suffering, and abundant in compassion. Thou dost not mete unto man evil for evil; but dost crown him with loving-kindness and tender mercy.
O that my memory could retain, and that my heart could properly value, the long catalogue of thine affectionate dealings with me. Thou hast watched over me by night, and guarded me by day : thou hast preserved me in health, and healed me in sickness: thou hast chosen for me the changes of life, and hast suited me to them : and more than all things else, thou hast given our race that mercy of Christ, whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us, with healing in its beams. Lord, enable me to cherish a suitable estimate of thy goodness. May it lead me to love thee, and do thy will—may it succour me when I am tempted, and comfort me when I am grieved.'—May it strengthen me in the hour of death, and be the song of my rejoicing throughout the ages of eternity.
Compassionate Father, deal not in strict justice with those who are now rejecting thy mercy. Say not in thy wrath, that they shall not enter thy rest. Make them hear thy tender and oft-repeated entreaties to turn from their wickedness, whilst thou art waiting to be gracious. Display to them the riches and fulness of that compassion, which brings the Sovereign of heaven to plead with them, and to pursue them in their obstinacy, with so many expressions of love. Extend to them thy golden sceptre of grace, that they may touch it and live. O forsake them not; but multiply thy mercies upon them, until their hardness of heart shall be melted down in humble sorrow and love—until their rebellious wills shall be brought to serve the living and true God.
Great God, rejoice my heart with frequent and thankful contemplations of that millennial glory, when thy name shall be great among the heathen, and when thou wilt give them to thy Son for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. Then thou wilt pour out thy Holy Spirit without measure, and darkness and transgression will be supplanted by light and obedience. Love to God and love to man, will fill the hearts of all the dwellers on earth: they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and theirs spears into pruning-hooks : nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Then there will be no clashing of sects; for there will be one Lord, one faith, one baptism. The heavens shall give their dew ; the earth shall give her increase; plenty shall fill the basket and the store, and fulness shall satisfy the hearts of the people. The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven-fold, as the light of seven days. The mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and exalted above the hills. 0 then
there will be great voices in heaven, saying, " The kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever."
Lord, teach all thy people the duties that belong to them in reference to the coming of that glorious season. May they trim their lamps, and keep their lights burning, and be ready at the advent of their Master. But do thou show them that his glorious appearing will be by the instrumentality of the sanctified and intelligent efforts of his church. O induce them to desire it ardently, to pray for it fervently, to hope for it believingly, and to labour for it diligently, in all those measures which thou hast been pleased to institute, as the means of accomplishing it. Bless their souls, and bless all their works of faith, and labours of love. O hasten thy glorious dominion. Spread it from pole to pole, from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth; and fill the wide world with thy knowledge, even as the waters cover the sea.
Great Author and Dispenser of Truth, bless those whom thou hast set to preach the everlasting gospel, and to bring glad tidings of good things. Thou hast not given us the ministry of angels, but of men; and hast given us this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power might be of God. It has pleased thee by that which the world calls the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe.
Lord of the Vineyard, let none take upon them this holy office, who are unfit for its sacred duties, in body, mind, or spirit. Yet do thou call out and prepare many, very many, who thou knowest are meet for the divine work of saving souls. Qualify those who are now ambassadors for Christ, and enable them to persuade men to be reconciled to God. Make them men of strong and cultivated judgment; of diligent and persevering study ; of zealous and faithful labour; and of prayerful, fervent, and consistent piety. Make them as the voice of him that cried in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make his paths straight." May they be themselves instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, and bring forth out of their treasure, things new and old. Let them not confer with flesh and blood. Bestow on them a mouth and wisdom which their enemies shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. Give them grace to speak thy word with all boldness ; keeping back nothing that is profitable ; shunning not to declare all the counsel of God ; and having this record, that they are pure from the blood of all men.
O Lord, bring them before their flocks in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. May their preaching be in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. Let thy pleasure prosper in their hands, and thy word have free course and be glorified. May they seek diligently to bring the religion of their people up to the standard of the Bible—to the measure of the faith once delivered to the saints. Give them power to alarm the guilty consciences, and to persuade the stubborn wills of the impenitent. Let them not be compelled to say, " All day long, we have stretched forth our hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people:" nor to ask in despair, " Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?" O make them guides of the blind, and lights of them which are in darkness. Grant that by their efforts, revivals of pure and undefined religion shall prevail, to cleanse thy church and to save perishing sinners.
Shepherd of Israel, incline thy people to discharge the duties they owe to the messengers of thy word. May they remember that the labourer is worthy of his hire, and that they who preach the gospel, should live of the gospel. May they properly appreciate the office of those that are over them in the Lord, and esteem such very highly in love for their works' sake. Make them careful to maintain all the institutions of thy word. May they listen to the preached message with the preparation of heart, the culture of prayer, the hearing of faith, and the purpose of obedience : receiving with meekness the engrailed word, as that which ministers grace to the hearers. Blessed Lord, excite them to sustain thy ministering servants by their intercessory prayers, that thou wouldst make them wise as serpents, and harmless as doves—that thou wouldst enable them to turn many to righteousness, who shall be as stars in the crowns of their rejoicing at the last day.
Lord, give to every destitute flock a pastor after thine own heart, who shall go in and out before his people in righteousness and zeal. Send thy messengers of mercy to those who are perishing for lack of knowledge. 0 raise up, and qualify, and send forth those who shall teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: and be thou with them alway, even unto the end of the world. x
These mercies, and every thing else which I desire, I would humbly ask through the perfect merit and prevailing intercession of Jesus, unto whom with the Father and the Spirit, one God, be eternal praise.
Missions.—See Heathen, Idolatry.
Lord, look in mercy on the followers of the False Prophet, whose system of blood and sensuality haa dragged into the net of delusion and death, so many millions of the human family. Thou seest how they have usurped the seats of the early triumphs of the gospel ; and how they are trampling underfoot conscience and liberty, in the scenes where Jesus and his apostles taught, and toiled, and died for the blessed truth of God. O Lord, open a great and effectual door of access to this people, through which the chariot of thy gospel may go forth, conquering and to conquer. Subdue their prejudice and bigotry; destroy their licentiousness and love of carnage; supplant their pride and superstition: and on the ruins of this dominion of sin, build that kingdom of righteousness, which is peace on earth and good will to men.
O God, thou art my God: early will I seek thee. I thank thee for peaceful and refreshing sleep, and for the returning light of the morning. Lift thou on my soul, the light of thy reconciled and life-giving countenance. May my heart rejoice in the daily renewals of thy love, even as the springing grass rejoices in the reviving visits of the morning sun. O cause my first awakings of thought—my earliest desires, to fix on thee and the remembrance of thy name.—Whilst 1 have slept in quiet comfort, many have been racked by pain or disease; or disturbed by fear or calamity; or suddenly called to the retributtons of eternity.—Grant me grace, for Christ's sake, to meet and discharge the duties of this day. Let me not undertake any thing which is not agreeable to thee. Dispose me to follow all my occupations in the world with a heavenly mind. May I use this world as not abusing it; and pass through things temporal, so as not to forget nor forfeit the things eternal. Enable me to make this life my journey to my everlasting home.
O Lord, let a conviction of thy presence and of my accountability, pursue me in my worldly business, and render me subservient to thy will. Protect me from folly, error, and sin. Make me kind, forbearing, and just in all my intercourse with mankind. Preserve me from exercising selfishness, deceit, or ill-will, towards any one. Be pleased, Gracious God, to make the allotments of thy providence towards me this day, such as may not tempt me to evil; but such as will work together for my good. Guard my thoughts, that they may not tamper with sin ; and my lips, that 1 offend not with my tongue ; and my feet, that they wander not in forbidden paths. Grant me disposition and leisure to retire from the world, to hold sweet and profitable communion with thee at thy throne of grace. And, O may I find at the close of this day, that while 1 have been drawn so much nearer eternity, I have been equally advanced in meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light.
Lord, I pray thee, through the merits of Jesus Christ, that thou wouldst sanctify my motives. Let my outward conduct be according to righteousness and mercy; but O, do thou make my heart pure in all its promptings towards duty. Dispose me to watch narrowly, lest I make a merit of good works ; or perform them to be seen of men, or to advance my selfish interests. Raise me above the love of self, and the desire of applause. Let not my motives, when they are right, be unsteady; but do thou give them such stability as shall cause me to be steadfast, unmoveable, alwa}'s abounding in the work of the Lord. Teach me that if my purposes are right in thy sight, O Lord, thou wilt bless me, though thou mayst see fit to deny their accomplishment. Show me that where there is a will to serve thee, it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to what a man hath not; for even the widow's mite secured a richer meed of favour than the expensive gifts of the wealthy ; and a cup of cold water given to a disciple, out of love to Jesus, shall in no wise lose its reward. Blessed Lord, make mine eye single, and my heart sincere. May I do good, not to be seen of men, but in the spirit of not letting my left hand know what my right hand doeth; for my Father which seeth in secret, will reward me openly. Lord, I would not seek to do thy will merely that I may derive comfort from so doing; but because it is thy pleasure that I should obey thee, and because it should be my own desire that good may be done, for thy glory and human welfare.
O thou God of the rolling seasons, assist me to bring before my mind, in solemn review, the transactions in which I have been engaged during the last year. Although most of them have vanished, or are dimly seen like faint and dying shadows, yet before thee they stand in living freshness. Though the record of them is fast wasting away from the treacherous tablet of my memory, yet they are written, as with a pen of iron, on the books of thy remembrance, where they will remain until that fearful hour of trial, when the books shall be opened, and all men shall be judged out of the things that are written therein, whether they be good or evil.
Lord, I desire to acknowledge before thee with godly sorrow, that I have neglected many duties, and abused many privileges, during the past year. My heart, and my lips, and my hands, have often been the agents of transgression. Many of thy mercies have been ungratefully perverted or forgotten ; and thy chastenings have often been despised, or unheeded. O, my tongue would grow weary, and my heart would sicken, if I should undertake to recite all my iniquities before thee. Help me, I pray thee, for the sake of our Great Advocate, to repent over them, to loathe and forsake them, and to look to thee for strength, that the time past of my life may suffice to have wrought the deeds of the flesh, and that henceforth I may live to the will of God.
O Lord, I desire to enter the coming, year, feeling the solemn responsibilities of human life. I know not what a day may bring forth, nor what the approaching months may reveal respecting me : except that they will bring me so much nearer eternity, and be full of records of my growth in grace, or of my backslidings from thy holy law. Yet I thank thee that my span of life is still lengthened out, and that I am still permitted to enjoy the precious opportunities that have been vouchsafed to me in days past. O God, assist me, I beseech thee, to discharge aright all the duties that lie before me. Make me understand the uncertainty of time, the worth of my soul, the multiplied interests of my fellow-travellers to eternity, and the righteous claims of thy service. Make me watchful against the many dangers to which I am exposed. Strengthen my love to thee ; deepen my convictions of sin; animate my desires after holiness; increase my spirit of prayer ; enlarge my benevolence ; and lead me in thine own way, for thy name's sake. Protect me by thy care ; supply me by thy bounty; and grant me an increasing meetness for that state where these changing seasons will give place to an endless life.
Lord, make this opening year, a year of the right hand of the Most High. Pour the healing balm of peace on all the bleeding wounds of thy church. Spread over her the spotless mantle of purity. Invigorate her by the reviving power of truth. Awaken her to renewed efforts in doing good. O may these months stand forth in the history of redemption, as precious seasons of refreshing from thy holy and life-giving presence.
Great God, I thank thee for the light, the comforts, and the duties of this day. Assist my thoughts now in meditating on its transactions. Bless whatever thou hast seen in me which has been agreeable to thy will. Grant me repentance and forgiveness for whatever has been sinful in thy sight; and prepare me by godly sorrow, and renewing grace, for better conformity in time to come. As my allotted span of life grows shorter every day, may I make daily, some progress in the way to heaven.
O Lord, take me into thy keeping during the watches of the night. The darkness and the light are both alike to thee. May thine eye that never slumbers, keep guard over me; and thine arm that is never weary, protect me. May I lie down, having my thoughts directed to thee, and the things that belong to my peace. Teach me to look on sleep as the emblem of death; and to seek that preparation of heart with which I should desire to meet the king of terrors. May the close of each day remind me of that night of death in which no man can work, and urge me to finish every work thou hast given me to do. Preserve me, I pray thee, from fear, from accident, from sickness, and from death. Make my sleep quiet and refreshing. And grant that when I awake in the morning, my thoughts may be full of thankfulness to thee for thy protecting and satisfying goodness.
Adorable Jehovah, bestow on me, for the merits of thy Son, the spirit of unreserved and full-hearted obedience to thy law. Thou art entitled to the service of all thy creatures. Thou didst form man out of the dust of the ground, and didst give him the breath of life, that he should honour and obey thee. Thou hast preserved his being, and gathered around him the comforts of life, that he should show forth thy praise. And he owes thee allegiance, because thou art the Governor of the universe, having a right to do thy pleasure among the army of heaven and the inhabitants of earth ; none of whom can resist thy will, but at the risk of thy sore displeasure. But thou hast strengthened infinitely, all these claims on his service, by the offer of salvation to a perishing world. Without this, there had been no hope of escape from the fruits of disobedience, which had treasured up wrath against the day of wrath. Blessed be thy mercy, that with this precious gift, thou hast not only infinitely increased our obligations, but thou hast actually redeemed unto thyself, a peculiar people, who are zealous of good works. Though thy righteous claims of creation, preservation, and benefaction, have been disregarded, thou hast overcome the rebellion of many of thy creatures, by the controlling influence of a Saviour's love ; so that they no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them.
Lord, enable me to present myself to thee, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is my most reasonable service. Aid me to do thy will in the things which thou hast commanded, and in those which thou hast forbidden. May I fulfil thy commandment out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. Teach me that whoso keepeth thy word, in him verily is the love of God perfected. O let me not confer with flesh and blood, in reference to the claims of duty. Give me courage to hold forth the word of life in evil report and in good report. O let my obedience have that symmetry and that fulness which are found in adding to faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly-kindness, and charity. Give me patient continuance in well-doing; and cheer me by the hope, that in due season, if I faint not, I shall reap eternal blessedness.
Blessed Sovereign, may thy chosen generation adorn the doctrine of God, their Saviour, in all things. Enable them by a holy walk, to be the light of the world, and to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Make their consciences void of offence toward God and man. May they find that thy yoke is easy and thy burden light. Make them fruitful of every good work; for thou hast ordained them, that they should go and bring forth fruit; and herein is our Father glorified, that they should bear much fruit. Grant that they may walk worthy of thee, in holiness and righteousness before thee, all the days of their lives. Make them willing, if needs be, to lose life for thy sake and the gospel's; for then they shall find it in life everlasting; nnd the praise of their service, sanctified by Christ's merits, and accepted through his pleadings, shall be thine for ever.
Lord, thou art God Almighty. The thunder of thy power, who can understand? Thou hast made, and controlled, and sustained the mighty fabric of nature, by the strength of thy word. The firmament, with all its shining garniture of countless worlds, showeth thy handy-work ; the earth, with all its furniture of hills and valleys, rivers and seas, proclaims thy greatness: and in thee all creatures live, and move, and have their being.
O Lord, give me a realizing sense of the greatness of thy power. Show it to me in the rich and varied works of nature ; and unfold it to me in that creation in the soul of man, in which old things are passed away, and all things are become new. I would adore thee for the strength of thy grace, which breaks the stony heart, and bends the stubborn will, and quickens those that were dead in trespasses and sins, into newness of life. Thy gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth. O God, I would bless thee that thou hast pledged thy might for the increase of thy kingdom in the world, and hast promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. O help me to cry, " Alleluia ; for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!"
Most High and Mighty, incline me to fear thee who art able to destroy both body and soul in hell for ever. Induce me to put my trust in thee ; for if thou art with me, who can be against me 1 May I experience in my heart that working whereby thou art able to subdue all things unto thyself. Grant me the succour of him who is mighty to save unto the uttermost, those who come unto thee by him. Keep me by thy power, through faith, unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.
O God, whither shall I go from thy Spirit; or where shall I flee from thy presence ? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, thou art there : if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me ! Thou fillest and exceedest the vast amplitude of the universe.
Lord, help me to understand the purposes of thy universal presence. Thou art bestowing the blessings of thy providence, and exerting the righteousness of thy government, over all thy creatures. Thou art comforting, protecting, and sanctifying the hearts of thy saints, and bestowing mingled mercy and justice on the earthly probation of the wicked. Thou art pervading heaven with the bliss of eternal life, and filling hell with the anguish of everlasting death.
O Lord, assist me to profit by the truth, that thou art every where present, at all times. Teach me by it, that in the infinite contrast with thee, I am but a grain of dust, a point, an atom, or as nothing! O that it might lead me to be vigilant in doing thy will, and in trusting to thy protecting providence, and redeeming goodness. Lord, grant me here, I beseech thee, a foretaste of that fulness of joy, which is in thy heavenly presence for evermore.
Great Fountain of Knowledge, thine understanding is infinite. Thou knowest all things ; even the end from the beginning. There is no creature that is not manifest in thy sight. Thou rememberest every thing that has occurred in the history of the wide universe: thou knowest all the open and secret workings of matter and mind, throughout thine unmeasured dominion : even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without thy notice, and the very hairs of our heads are all numbered : and there is nothing in the countless revolutions of eternity, that is not as visible to thine eye as the light of day !
Lord, thou knowest my down-sitting and mine uprising; thou art acquainted with all my ways; and thou understandest even my thoughts afar off". If I say, " Surely the darkness shall cover me"—even the night shall be light about me. O grant me the solemn influences of the truth, that thou knowest the hearts of all men : thou hast indeed searched and known me. May it lead me to worship thee in spirit and in truth; for thou art not deceived, and canst not be mocked. May it restrain me from sin ; because there is no darkness nor shadow of death where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. And, O, may it be a source of comfort and blessing
to me; for thou knowest all my wants, and canst supply them out of thine abundant fulness.
Lord, thou art the Helper of the fatherless. Look, I pray thee, in thy tenderest compassion, on those from whom thou hast taken away the natural guides and comforts of their life. Heal the wounded hearts of those who are bleeding under these keen bereavements. Assure them that when their father and mother forsake them, then, if they put their trust in thee, the Lord will take them up.
O God, open fountains of compassion in the hearts of mankind, towards orphans. Raise up for them friends, who shall take the places, and discharge the offices of those whom thou hast, in thy wise purposes, taken. from them. Make it the business of christian love, to sooth their sorrows, to minister to their wants, and to guide their steps amid the wanderings of earth. Protect them from the dangers which accompany their exposed condition. Screen them from the oppression with which the selfish so often scourge the destitute. Guard them from the temptations which gather in fearful number and strength around the defenceless. Save them from those indulgences in sin, into which the unrestrained are so prone to fall. Gracious Lord, smooth for them the pathways of life. Even as a tender shepherd carries the lambs of his flock in his bosom, so do thou shelter them in the covert of thy wings.— Above every other blessing, grant them that of regarding thee as their reconciled God and Father, in the Lord Jesus Christ. Though thou hast hid the desire of their eyes, and the hope of their hearts, in the silence of the grave, yet thou wilt be unto them,
if they confide in thee, a present help and an eternal portion. Lead them to look up unto thee, in their destitution, as their Heavenly Father; and to feel that the most cherished pleasures of earthly parentage, fall infinitely below the privileges of being in the adoption of the sons of God.
O thou that dwellest in the contrite heart, preserve me, for the Redeemer's sake, from the folly and sin of ostentation, both in the common duties of life and in my religious actions. Teach me that I have nothing that I have not received; and that thou hast commanded that nothing be done through strife or vainglory. Lord, let me not do my works before men, to be seen of them. Grant that whenever I desire to catch the applause of man, or seek to be thought of others what I am not, I may reflect that all I am and all I do, are naked and open to thine eyes. It is with thee, and not with my fellow-creatures, I have to do : for thou art the only true and final umpire of conduct and character. Heavenly Father, do thou so raise me above the fear and love of man, that I may be in all things, and at all times, a servant of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, as unto the Lord, and not unto men.