SABBATH MORNING. Jay.
O Thou King eternal, immortal, invisible, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, and whom no eye hath seen, or can see. Thou art incomprehensible, and the highest archangel can never find thee out unto perfection. Yet thou hast been pleased to reveal thyself to man; and by means of thy word, we behold thee in every character and relation that can suit our necessities, or encourage our hope. Thy throne is in the heavens, and thy kingdom ruleth over all; and all nations before thee are as nothing; yet thou condescendest to regard the things that are done in the earth; and thou despisest not the prayer even of the destitute. Thou art exalted above all blessing and praise: our goodness extendeth not to thee—but unless thine be extended to us, we are undone forever. Without thee we can do nothing; we are nothing. In thee we live, and move, and have our being. The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. We are poor and dependent; but as thou art able, so thou art willing, to take the charge of us; and here we are, the living to praise thee; and to acknowledge that goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our lives.
We bless thee, that thou hast regarded our souls, as well as our bodies; and no less provided for our future interests, than our present. When there was no eye to pity us, thou didst remember us in our low estate; and when there was no arm to rescue, thou wast pleased to lay help on one that is mighty; and thou hast sent thy own Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. To him may we turn our hearts, and find in him the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, which, as perishing sinners, we need. In all our approaches to thee, may we have boldness, and access, with confidence, by the faith of him. May we know that he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; and be able to rejoice in him as our sacrifice, our sympathising friend, our almighty helper, and our lovely example. May we drink into his spirit. May we transcribe the excellencies of his character into our own. May we place our feet in the very prints of his steps; and follow him till we shall be perfectly like him, andsee him as he is.
We desire to acknowledge thee in the dispensations of thy providence; and to own thy agency in all the events that befall us, whether pleasing or painful. Thou hast a right to govern us; and thou knowest what will best advance our welfare. May we commit our way unto the Lord, and be able to say at thy footstool, in unfeigned submission, Here I am, let him do what seemeth him good. If darkness veils thy dealings with us, may we trust and not be afraid; believing that what we know not now, we shall know hereafter; and that the development of thy conduct will issue in perfect satisfaction and praise.
We bless thee for the institutions of religion, in the use of which thou hast promised to draw near to those that draw near to thee. We rejoice in another of the days of the Son of man; may we call off our minds from the cares of the world, and attend upon the Lord without distraction. Quicken and elevate our souls, that rising above the formality of devotion, we may come even to thy seat, and enjoy a little of the blessedness of those that have entered thy temple above, and are singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. We are about to assemble in the house of prayer—pour upon us the spirit of grace and of supplication; and rank us in the number of those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. We are going to the house of praise— awaken in us every grateful and cheerful emotion, and may we speak to ourselves in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing, and making melody in our hearts unto the Lord. We are repairing to the house of instruction—enable us to receive the kingdom of God as a little child. Teach us of thy ways. Lead us into all truth. And let us be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
For this purpose, let thy presence go with us; and let thy word come to us; not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. Bless all the churches of the faithful; and the ministers of the everlasting gospel, of every name, and of every nation. Clothe the priests with salvation; and let thy saints shout aloud for joy. May our country prosper in all her lawful interests, both domestic and foreign. Bless the chief magistrate of our nation, and all that are in authority; may they rule in thy fear, and be guided by thy counsel; and may the people lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children, and let the beauty of the Lord our God be^ upon us; establish thou the work of our hand upon us, yea, the work of our hand, establish thou it.
*And we especially invoke thy blessing, O Lord, to attend this day all the instructions imparted in Sabbath schools and Bible classes. We pray that thou wilt be graciously pleased to grant the influences of the Holy Spirit, that that instruction may be impressed deeply on the heart and may produce abundant fruit in the life. Give grace, Almighty God, to those who are teachers in those schools; that they may be deeply impressed with their responsibility; that they may be themselves thy children; and that they may engage in their work with an earnest desire to benefit those entrusted to their charge. May their minds be enlightened that they may understand thy holy word. May they see clearly the great plan of redeeming mercy. May they be enabled to present thy truth simply, clearly, with affection, and with prayer. May the sacred Spirit —the Comforter—be given them, to guide them into all truth. And do thou be pleased to bless all children in those schools. Preside over them and give to them thy Holy Spirit. Grant to them tender, teachable minds. May they learn the paths of wisdom, and delight in instruction. May their hearts be given to the Saviour in their early years. May they come to him, who, when on earth, said, Suffer little children and forbid them not to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven. Take, O blessed Saviour, those lambs of the flock, into thine arms, and guide them by thine unerring counsel. Defend them from the perils and temptations of life, and conduct thou them to the joys of thine everlasting kingdom. [May our own children be trained up in the knowledge of thy name; and whatever instruction in accordance with thy word may be imparted to them in the family, the Sunday school, or the sanctuary, we pray that it may be attended with thy blessing, and be the means of fitting them for the duties of this life, and for the joys of thine eternal kingdom.]*
These mercies, and all we need, we humbly ask in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, our most gracious Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
SABBATH EVENING. Jay.
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O, Most High, to show forth thy loving-kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.
We this evening acknowledge the blessings, not only of another day, but of another sabbath. We bless thee that the sabbath was made for man, and that thou hast hallowed such a portion of our time, for purposes so important, but which, alas, we. are prone to neglect. Thus thou art affording us opportunities to retire and to learn, among all the cares of life, that one thing is needful; and to hear the inquiry, what is a man profited, if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul. Thus we have moments of leisure, in which we can more fully investigate our character; examine our condition; and ask, for what purpose we entered this mortal stage, and what will become of us when these scenes close.
We thank thee that the lines are fallen to us in pleasant places, and that we have a goodly heritage: so that we can add to private meditation and devotion, the public ordinances of religion; and can sit under our own vine and fig-tree, none daring to make us afraid. We bless thee, that we have not only the Scriptures, but the ministry of the gospel; and have this day not only read, but heard the words of eternal life.
But, O God, the effects we experience while waiting upon thee, though delightful, often prove like the morning cloud, and early dew. Before the lapse of a single day, we are compelled to complain, My soul cleaveth unto the dust; and to pray, quicken thou me according to thy word. Render therefore the impressions made upon us, deep and durable: keep these things for ever in the imagination of the hearts of thy people; and let thy word dwell in us richly, in all wisdom.
May the instructions we receive, attend us in every part of our life, and regulate, and excite us in the discharge of all our relative duties, so that whether we are husbands or wives, parents or children, masters or servants, we may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. May we be satisfied with no knowledge, no belief, no professions, no feelings in religion—while our hearts are void of thy love, and we are strangers to that grace which bringeth salvation, and teacheth us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world.
We take shame to ourselves, not only for our open violations of thy law; but for our secret faults, our omissions of duty, our unprofitable attendance on the means of grace, our carnality in worshipping thee; and all the sins of our holy things. Our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is gone up into the very heavens—and there, he is gone also, who is our Advocate with the Father, and the Propitiation for our sins. Behold his hands and his feet: and hear, O, hear, the voice of the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Pity those who have this day been deprived of the public means of grace by sickness or infirmity. Let them know that thou art not confined to temples made with hands: be with them in trouble; and give them their vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope.
And remember the millions who were never favoured with the advantages we enjoy, and would be grateful for the crumbs that fall from our table. But they never smiled when a sabbath appeared. They never heard the name of Jesus. They feel guilt, but know nothing of the blood that cleanseth from all sin; they feel depravity, but know nothing of the renewing of the Holy Ghost. No one proclaims among them the balm of Gilead; and the physician there. O, send out thy light and thy truth. Let thy way be known on earth; thy saving health among all nations.
We now commit ourselves, with all our connexions, into thy hands. Guard us through the defenceless hours of sleep, from every evil to which we are exposed. If, as life is always uncertain, it should please thee to call us hence this night—may we awaken in glory, and be forever with the Lord: or if thou shouldst continue us in being—may we rise in health and comfort, to pay thee the homage of a grateful heart, in a course of cheerful obedience.
In thy favour is life—Do thou bless us, and we shall be blessed—safe from every evil, and sure of every good.
And prepare us at length for the rest that remains for thy people; in which we shall join the general assembly and church of the first born in ascribing—blessing and honour, and glory, and power, to him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever. Jlmm.
MONDAY MORNING* Jay.
O Thou, who hast characterized thyself as the hearer of prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come: and that we may come with acceptance and success, we come in the name of the great intercessor, Jesus Christ, the righteous—and thou Eternal Spirit of grace and suppli
* The first Monday in the month is observed, by most Christian denominations, as a monthly concert of prayer for the spread of the gospel throughout the world.
cation, do thou make intercession for us, by making intercession in us, according to the will of God.
Bless the services in which we were engaged on the past day. Let a savour of divine things be left on our spirits; and be diffused in our conversation. Let those around us take knowledge of us, that we have been with Jesus; and may our profiting appear unto all men. May our light shine before men. May we be manifestly the disciples of Christ. May we put on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering, forgiving one another. May we be followers of God, as dear children: may we be perfect, as our Father, who is in heaven, is perfect.
We confess and bewail, not only our deficiencies, but our backslidings also. O, recall us to thyself; enable us to feel our first love, and to do our first works. Yea, may we forget the things that are behind, and reach forth unto those that are before. May we not only have life, but may we have it more abundantly; and not only be fruitful, but bear much fruit.
May our improvements correspond with our privileges; and our practice with our knowledge. May our wills always bow to the decisions of our judgments; may we choose what we approve, and never condemn ourselves in the things that we allow.
May all our churches continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, and in fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer; and may the Lord add daily to their number, such as shall be saved.
May the dead hear the voice of the Son of God, and live. May those who are asking the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward, find a teacher that will say to them, This is the way, walk ye in it, when they turn to the right hand, and when they turn to the left. Let the rich be poor in spirit; and the poor be made rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which thou hast promised to them that love thee. Let the ignorant be enlightened; and let those that are wise, become fools, that they may be wise.
* We acknowledge thee, O, most merciful God, as the Father of all flesh. Thou hast made of one blood all the nations of men, to dwell on the face of all the earth; and hast fixed the bounds of their habitation. Thou upholdest all in being; providest for their wants; causest thy sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendest rain on the just and on the unjust. We rejoice, O our Father, and thank thee for thy goodness to all men. We praise thee that thou hast had mercy on the human family, and hast provided a plan of salvation, adapted to the wants of all mankind. And we bless thee for all thy promises in relation to the spread, and final triumph of the gospel" of thy dear Son, that the heathen shall be given to him for his inheritance, and the ends of the earth for his possession—that the desert shall bud and bloom as the rose, and the wilderness and solitary place shall be glad.
Be pleased, O Lord, to look down in mercy, on all who shall this day assemble to supplicate thy blessing on a fallen world. Give to thy people a spirit of grace and supplication. May they approach thy throne with humble hearts; with true faith; with earnest desires, that thy kingdom may come, and thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. May they approach thee, feeling that they plead for the salvation of a dying world; and give thee no rest until the righteousness of Zion go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burnetii. Do thou graciously hear and answer their supplications. Look in mercy upon a ruined world. Pity the nations that are sitting in the region and shadow of death; and may the sun of righteousness arise upon them with healing in his beams. May the dark places of the earth, now full of the habitations of cruelty, become the dwelling place of righteousness, and the abodes of peace. May the ignorant be enlightened; the wretched be comforted; the oppressed go free. May thy glorious gospel shed its blessings on all the nations of the earth; and all the means now used to advance the glory of the latter day, be crowned with success.
Attend, O most merciful Father, all those who have gone to other lands, to make known the unsearchable riches of Christ. Give to them much of the spirit of thy dear Son. Give them wisdom to direct them— grace to support them in all their trials—success in all their efforts. Make them burning and shining lights among the nations. May they be kept from sin, and temptation; from despondency, and doubt; from persecution and want. In all their trials may they stay themselves on thee, and ever have an unshaken confidence in the promises of thy holy word. Keep by thy mighty power, all who among the heathen, have been converted to the Christian faith. Preserve them from temptation and apostacy. Afford them light and strength as they need, and amid all the trials with which they may meet, may they find thee to be a present help, a refuge, and a strength. May they see more and more of the beauty of that religion which they profess, and daily rejoice more and more in hope of the glory of God.
Advance, O Lord, all the great interests of man. May the blessings of civil and religious freedom—of Christian education, and of peace, be every where enjoyed. May wars, and rumours of wars cease. May the sword be beat into a ploughshare, and the spear into a pruning hook, and nations learn war no more. Let the mild and peaceful principles of thy- glorious gospel every where prevail, and the ends of the earth soon be filled with thy glory.*
We bless thee, for all thy former loving-kindnesses to this family, and pray that they may be continued to us, and sanctified to us. May the outgoings of the morning and evening of another day be made to rejoice. May we continually live under the shadow of thy wing and the influence of thy grace: and let the words.of our mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer.
And unto Him that is able to do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
MONDAY EVENING. Jay.
*Oua Father, who art in heaven, we approach thee at
the close of another day to render thee thanks for thy
mercies, and to implore thy blessing on us and on all mankind. Thy mercies are new to us every morning, fresh every evening, repeated every moment. To thy name we give thanks for our birth in a Christian land, and for all the mercy thou hast shown us in our lives. We thank thee for thy glorious gospel, that gospel which we have so long slighted and abused, and which thou art graciously continuing to us. We would remember this night, that millions of our fellow beings are sitting in the region and shadow of death; that on them no light has risen, and none have gone to them to break to them the bread of life. Make us sensible of thy distinguishing mercy to us. May we remember that where much is given, there much will be required; and that soon we must appear at thy bar, with an assembled world, to render an account for the improvement of all our privileges.*
We bless thee for a purpose of grace given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. We rejoice that in the fulness of time he assumed our nature, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; and that as he was delivered for our offences, so he was raised again for our justification, and ascending up on high, entered into the holy place, as a proof of the sufficiency and acceptance of the sacrifice he offered. We rejoice that he has received the whole dispensation of the Spirit, and that in him all fulness dwells. And we bless thee for the proclamations of the gospel, which hold him forth to our view in all his grace and glory, and unsearchable riches, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope.
O thou God of hope, fill us with all joy and peace, in believing thy promises and invitations, that we may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost. May we esteem all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord; and may we supremely desire to win Christ, knowing that he who hath the Son of God hath life, and shall never come into condemnation. May we prove that we are joined to the Lord, by being one spirit with him; may our sentiments, tempers, and conduct, be formed after the example which he left us; and may we never consider ourselves Christians, but as we long to be like him, and the life also of Jesus is made manifest in our mortal body. May we never love a world that crucified the Lord of glory; nor suffer those sins to live that caused him to die. May his grace, in becoming poor, that we through his poverty might be rich, make us ashamed of our selfishness; and may his love, in giving his life a ransom for us, so constrain us, as to render any services or sacrifices, for his sake, our delight.
May he never be wounded in the house of his professed friends; may we rather die than bring a reproach upon his cause. May all his followers be dear to us. May we recommend him to those that know him not, that they may seek him, with us. Let the number of those who love his salvation, daily increase; and let the accessions include every member of our household, and all our absent friends. And hasten, O Lord, the blessed hour, when all kings shall fall down before him, and all nations shall serve him—and blessed be his glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with his glory.
*Be pleased, O Lord, to hear the prayers which thy people have this day offered in behalf of Zion. Grant an answer to the desires and supplications of thy people. Send out thy light and thy truth, and let all nations be illuminated with the gospel of thy grace. We commend to thee thy cause. We beseech thee to look in mercy upon the nations of the earth. We pray that thy people may be more deeply impressed with the wants and woes of man. Grant that thy people may more and more deny themselves; may feel more deeply affected in view of all the miseries and crimes of our race; and more earnestly desirous that all nations should hear thy gospel. We commend to thy care all Missionary, Tract, Bible, and Education Societies, and all the institutions of benevolence in our land, and throughout the world. May those who are called, in thy providence, to direct the charities of thy people, and to preside in the institutions of benevolence, be endowed with true wisdom, with conscientiousness, with a spirit of prayer, and with deep and expansive benevolence. May they ever feel their responsibility, and in all their deliberations be conducted to such results as shall be for the glory of thy name, and for the speedy and universal extension of the gospel among the naff
tions of the earth. We pray that revivals of true religion in all lands may be multiplied. We beseech thee to send forth more labourers into the harvest. May all our schools and colleges be under thy fostering care, and may the young men of this land, and this generation, be imbued with the spirit of self-denial, and with a readiness to obey thy call in diffusing the blessings of civilization and Christianity among all men. May every continent and island partake of thy blessing, and every nation and tribe speedily hear in their own language the wonderful works of God. Let thy holy word be translated into all the languages of the earth, and every habitation of man be soon blessed with the inestimable treasure of the word of life.
Behold in mercy, O God, all who are oppressed. Especially look in tenderness upon benighted and injured Africa. Send to all her millions thy holy gospel, and may Christian nations soon be roused to repair her wrongs, and to send to that people so long injured and afflicted, the healing balm of life. Put a period, we do earnestly pray thee, to the traffic in human flesh. May the eyes of men be opened to the guilt and wo of this traffic, and their hearts feel, deeply feel, for that injured people. Remember, O Lord, all the sons of Africa who are held in bondage in all lands. May that gospel, which is sent to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, be sent to all those lands, and may the prisoner speedily go free. Especially remember all in bondage in our own land. Bless all the means that are used to promote their welfare; and soon may this land be freed from this burden, and all men here be admitted to the rights with which, by nature, thou hast endowed them. Direct to such means as may result in their freedom, in consistency with the peace and welfare of this nation; and grant that their captivity here, may yet be the means of bestowing the rich blessings of Christianity on the land of their fathers.*
We praise thee as the length of our days and the God of our mercy. In the morning we committed ourselves to thy care, and thou hast been with us in our going out and our coming in; and hast kept us in all our .ways. Pardon whatever thou hast seen amiss in us through another period of our time. Accept the charge of us through the approaching night; and grant us the sleep which thou givest thy beloved; as we hope we desire it, not only as creatures, but as Christians; not only to gratify our feelings, but to renew our strength for thy service, and to fit us to glorify thee in our bodies as well as in our spirits, through our adorable Redeemer. Amm.
TUESDAY MORNING. Jay.
O Thou, whose name also is Jehovah, the Most High over all the earth, we desire to adore the perfections of thy nature, and to admire the works of thy hands. May the united displays of thy greatness, and thy goodness, impress our minds, and influence our thoughts and affections, while we approach thee.
Heaven is thy throne, and the earth is thy footstool. The universe, with all its creatures, was made by thy word, and is upholden by thy power; and thou dost according to thine own will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; none can stay thy hand, or say unto thee, what doest thou?
But thou art the Father of mercies, the God of all grace, and the God of all comfort. Even we, poor, mean, dying creatures, are not beneath thy care. Thou hast been mindful of us; thou hast visited us; and thy visitation hath preserved our spirits. The lines are fallen to us in pleasant places; yea, we have a goodly heritage; we live in a land of light; we have the scriptures in our hands, and our ears hear the joyful sound of the gospel. We know that thou hast not spared thine own Son, but delivered him up for us all. We know that he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: that his blood cleanseth from all sin, and that whosoever believeth on him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
We come in his name, and make mention of his righteousness only. We plead the obedience and sufferings of him who magnified the law, and made it honourable. May we be justified by his blood; and may we be saved by his life. May we be joined to the Lord, and of one spirit with him. May we deny ourselves, and take up our cross, and follow him. May the agency of thy Holy Spirit prepare us for all the dispensations of thy providence. May we be willing that the Lord should choose our inheritance for us, and determine what we shall retain or lose; what we shall suffer or enjoy.
If indulged with prosperity, may we be secured from its snares, and use its advantages as not abusing them. And may we patiently and cheerfully submit to those afflictions, which are necessary to hedge up our way when we are tempted to wander, to excite an abhorrence of sin, to wean us from the present evil world, and to make us partakers of thy holiness. In whatsoever state we are, may we be therewith content. Only assure us that thou wilt be with us in trouble, and, that at the end of the vale of tears, we shall enter Emmanuel's land, where the inhabitants no more say, I am sick; where our sun shall no more go down, nor our moon withdraw itself, but God shall be our everlasting light, and the days of our mourning shall be ended.
May our friends and relations be fellow-heirs with us of the grace of life. Let our house be the tabernacle of the righteous: let our children and servants be a seed to serve thee: and among none of those who surround this family altar, may there be weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, when they shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God, and they themselves shut out.
Lord, help us all to view our religious opportunities as talents, for which we are accountable: to remember, that our greatest danger results from our highest privileges; and to fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into thy rest, any of us should seem to come short of it.
Thou hast determined the bounds of our habitation; and by the events of thy providence, many of those in whose society we delight, are separated from us. When we are absent in body, may we be often present in spirit. We commend our absent friends and kindred to thy covenant care. May no evil tidings concerning them, wound our hearts: spare them in mercy; may we often embrace each other in circumstances of health and comfort: or if we have had our last interview on earth, may we all meet in our heavenly Father's house, and be for ever with each other, and for ever with the Lord.
*In the duties of this day, be graciously pleased to be with us. Preserve us from temptations, and the allurements of the world. Defend us from danger, and prepare us for whatever may be thy will in regard to us. In all circumstances may we evince the Christian spirit; be kept from anger, and pride, and ambition; from envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness. May we be diligent in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. May we rejoice with them who do rejoice, and weep with them who weep. Help us to provide things honest in the sight of all men; and to live peaceably with all. To the end of our lives may we be the humble, and consistent followers of Jesus Christ, so that at last, through his merits, we may, with all thy people, be admitted to the joys of thy kingdom above.*
And to the only wise God, our Saviour, be praise and glory everlasting. Jlmen.
TUESDAY EVENING. Jay.
O Thou King of Glory, we desire to approach thy divine Majesty with reverence and godly fear, and to worship thee in the beauty of holiness. Every perfection adorns thy nature, and sustains thy throne. The heavens are thine; the earth also is thine: the world is thine, and the fulness thereof. Thy power formed the universe from nothing. Thy wisdom has managed all its multiplied concerns, presiding over nations, families, and individuals, and numbering the very hairs of our head. Thy goodness is boundless; the eyes of all wait upon thee, and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. How precious are the thoughts of thy mercy and grace—and so excellent is thy loving
kindness, that even the children of men, put their trust under the shadow of thy wing.
Thou art the blessed and happy God. O, teach us to place our happiness in thyself. May we never seek the living among the dead, nor ask with the deluded many, Who will show us any good? But, may we prize the light of thy countenance; implore the joy of thy salvation; and passing by the attractions of creatures be able to say, Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
Thou hast been infinitely more attentive to our happiness than we ever have been, or ever can be. Thou madest man upright, and when, by voluntary transgression, we fell away from thee, thou didst not treat us with the severity, or the neglect we deserved. In thy love and pity thou wast pleased to provide for us a Saviour, who bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, and put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Apply this redemption to our hearts, by the justification of our persons, and the sanctification of our natures. We confess our transgressions—Have mercy upon us. We are heavy laden—Give us rest. We are ignorantmake us wise unto salvation. We are helpless—Let thy strength be made perfect in our weakness. We are poor and needy. Bless us with all the unsearchable riches of Christ. May we run and not be weary, and walk and not faint. And though perplexities, and trials, and dangers await us, yet may we travel on, unchecked and undismayed, knowing, thou hast said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Thus far, blessed be thy name, thou hast led us on, and we have found thee faithful to thy promises. We have had our sorrows; but thou hast been a very present help in every time of trouble. We have had our fears; but thou hast not suffered the enemy to triumph over us. We have sometimes been on the verge of despair, and have said, I am cast out of thy sight: but we have been enabled to look again towards thy holy temple; and the shadow of death has been turned in the morning. Hitherto hath the Lord helped us. Thy vows are upon us, O God: we will render praises unto thee, for thou hast delivered our souls from death: wilt not thou deliver our feet from falling, that we may walk before God in the light of the living?
We would feel the connexions which unite us to others, and by sympathy, and prayer, and praise, make their miseries and mercies our own. We would rejoice with those that rejoice, and weep with those that weep. Provide support and employment for the poor. Make the widow's heart to sing for joy: and in thee, may the fatherless find mercy. Visit those who are on beds of sickness, and prepare them for thy pleasure; that if they live, it may be to serve thee. Bless our nation. May every department of the nation be under the control of infinite wisdom and goodness; and let righteousness and peace be the stability of our times. Do good, in thy good pleasure unto Zion; build thou the walls of Jerusalem: and may all our churches, like the original disciples, continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, and in fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Protect and refresh us through the night season: and then cause us to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning; for in thee do we trust: cause us to know the way wherein we should go, for we lift up our souls unto thee. We implore it through the intercession of thy dear Son, and our Saviour.
And blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. Amen.
WEDNESDAY MORNING. Jay.
O Thou Most High! enable us to feel, and to express, becoming regards towards thee, as the Creator of the ends of the earth, the Preserver of men, the Governor of the universe, the Judge of all, the Saviour of sinners. Thy greatness is unsearchable, and thy goodness is infinite. It is because thy compassions fail not, that we are not consumed. Thou hast not only prolonged our unworthy lives under numberless provocations, but thou hast afforded us every needful supply and indulgence. Thy mercies have been new every morning and every moment. Through thy good hand upon us we have been rescued from the perils of another night; our repose has been unterrified and undisturbed; sleep has refreshed our bodies, and renewed our strength; and we find ourselves surrounded, at the commencement of another day, with all our accustomed privileges.
But, O God, we can never be sufficiently thankful that we have our existence in a Christian country, and where we can hear words, by which we may be saved. O, how important, how suitable, how encouraging are the discoveries, the doctrines, the promises, the invitations of the gospel of peace. We are lost; but here is presented to us a free, full, and everlasting salvation. We are left without strength; but here we learn, that help is laid on one that is mighty. We are poor and needy; but here we behold the unsearchable riches of Christ. We are blind and ignorant; but in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. We thank thee, O God, for thine unspeakable gift, and we cordially accept of thy mercy extended to us, through the mediation of thy dear Son. We rejoice that he has been delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification; and that he is now exalted at thy right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour. We abandon every other refuge to hide in, and every other foundation to build upon, and make him our only hope, and our only confidence. And while we depend on his death, and make mention of his righteousness only, we admire his example, and desire to be conformed to his image. May we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and increasingly resemble him, whose life was beneficence; whose soul was meekness and humility; who pleased not himself; and who, of obedience the most trying and difficult, could say, I delight to do thy will, O my God, yea, thy law is within my heart. May his glory fill our minds; may his love reign in our affections; and at his cross, and at his tomb, may we burn with ardour to live, not to ourselves, but to him that died for us and rose again. Let the number of his followers daily increase; and may none of our friends be found among his enemies. Pour thy Spirit upon our seed, and thy blessing upon our offspring. Let our sons be as plants grown up in their youth, and our daughters as corner stones, polished jfter the similitude of a palace. May our domestics be the servants of God; may they do his will from the heart; and be prepared for that world, where those who serve will be as those who are served, and all the distinctions now necessary, will be done away, and none remain, but those which arise from character. And whatever be our conditions in life, may we fill them as Christians; may we escape the snares to which they expose us; discharge the duties that grow out of their circumstances; enjoy with moderation and gratitude their advantages; and improve with decision and diligence, their opportunities and resources of usefulness. May every place and every company, in which we are found, be benefited by us.
And whatever may be the opinion of our fellow creatures concerning us, may we be satisfied and happy, in having the testimony that we please God. We are now going forth into the concerns of another day. Take us under thy protection and influence. Guide us in all our steps. Enable us to realize thy presence and thy providence. Succeed us in all our lawful endeavours, or prepare us for disappointment; and assure us that we are in the number of those to whom all things are working together for good; and who will forever acknowledge—marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are all thy ways, O thou King of saints.
*We ask these mercies, sensible of our guilt and unworthiness. We come not in our own names, and we plead no merit of our own. We come in the worthy name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, and who ever lives to make intercession for us; and we desire to ascribe to him, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, all praise, power, glory, and dominion, both now and forever.* Amen.
WEDNESDAY EVENING. Jay.
Our Father, who art in heaven, we desire to acknowledge thy Being and agency; to adore thy perfections, and to admire the works of thy hands. Thou hast made summer and winter. Thou hast appointed the moon for seasons, and the sun knoweth his going down. The day is thine; the night also is thine: and thou makest the outgoings of the morning and the evening to rejoice. To that throne, from which none were ever sent empty away, we again approach for mercy and grace to help in time of need. Let our prayer come before thee as incense, and the lifting up of our hands as the evening sacrifice. Preserve us from formality in these exercises in which we so daily engage; and alarm our fears, lest we should provoke thee to say, in vain do they worship me.
For this purpose, enable us to realize thine all-seeing eye, to remember with whom we have to do, and what we have to do with him: may we deeply feel the guilt of the sins we confess, and hunger and thirst after the blessings we implore. And while we review the numberless blessings we have received from thy hands, may we be more than ever sensible of our unworthiness, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful, and that we may be disposed to show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to thy service, and walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days.
He that is our God is the God of salvation, and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death. We bless thee this evening as the preserver of men. Another day has been added, by thy good providence, to the season of thy long suffering, and the time of our preparation for eternity. We lament that the design of our being placed and continued here, has been so imperfectly subserved; that in so many things we have offended, and in all, come short of the glory of God. If, where much is given, much will be required, and the servant who knew his Lord's will and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes—if thou, Lord, should mark our iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? We cannot answer thee for one of a thousand of our transgressions: the review of a single day is enough to plunge us into despair—our only relief is, that there is forgiveness with thee; and that with thee there is plenteous redemption.
But while we hope in thy mercy, we would not abuse it. We would not sin that grace may abound; or be evil, because thou art good. But since thou art good, and ready to forgive, we would the more sincerely grieve, that ever we have offended a Being, so worthy of our devotedness; and be the more concerned in future, to walk so as to please thee.
Create in us a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within us. Set a watch, O God, upon our mouth; keep the door of our lips. And in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by thy grace, may we have our conversation in the world, and in the church, and in the family.
We again commend ourselves to thy care. As thou hast been through the day, our sun and our shield, be thou through the night, our shade and our defence. Undisturbed by anxieties, unalarmed by fears, undistressed by pain or indisposition, may we retire and enjoy repose. Remind us, by putting off our garments, and lying down to sleep, of putting off the body, and sleeping in the grave, the house appointed for all living. Prepare us for the night of death, the morning of the resurrection, and the day of judgment.
And all we implore is, through the mediation of him, who bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors, to whom, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, be endless prayers. Aram.
THURSDAY MORNING. Jay.
O Lord our God, blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee. In thy presence there is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand there are pleasures forever more. With thee is the fountain of life, and in thy light alone can we see light.
We therefore entreat thy favour, with our whole heart. We acknowledge that we have forfeited all claims to it; and if we had no better ground of hope than our deservings, we must sink into despair. For against thee, thee only have we sinned, and done evil in thy sight, that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and clear when thou judgest.
But with thee there is mercy, and with thee there is plenteous redemption. We bless thee for the assurance, that thou hast sent thy own Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world, through him, might be saved. We rejoice, that neither the number nor heinousness of our transgressions, is a bar to that forgiveness, which is founded on the sufferings and sacrifice of the cross. The blood of Jesus Christ, thy Son, cleanseth from all sin. Graciously absolve us from our guilt; and pronounce our discharge from all condemnation, that being justified by faith, we may have peace with God and enjoy the glorious liberty of thy children.
But, O, save us from the hope of the hypocrite, which shall perish. Never suffer us to impose upon ourselves, in any thing that relates to our eternal state. May we never suppose that we are in Christ, unless we are new creatures; or that we are born of the Spirit, unless we mind the things of the Spirit. May we never rest satisfied with any professions of belief or any outward forms or services, while the heart is not right with God. May we judge of our sincerity in religion, by our fear to offend thee; by our concern to know what thou wilt have us to do; and by our willingness to deny ourselves, and take up our cross and follow the Lamb, whithersoever he goeth.
May nothing render us forgetful of thy glory; may nothing turn us aside from thy commands; may nothing shake our confidence in thy promises. Take from us the evil heart of unbelief; the cause of all our waverings and wanderings; may we believe that we may be established in our goings, and be always abounding in the work of the Lord.
Prepare us for whatever we have to meet with, between this morning and the grave. We know not what lies before us; but thou knowest, and thy grace can make us sufficient for every service and every suffering.
Let not our temporal occupations ever injure our spiritual concerns; or the cares of this life make us forget, or neglect, the one thing needful; may we learn the holy art of abiding with God in our callings; of being in the world without being of it; and of making every thing not only consistent with religion, but conducive to it.
May we do, and may we say nothing, by which we shall offend against the generation of thy children. May we bear the infirmities of the weak, and not please ourselves. May we restore a brother that has been overtaken in a fault, in the spirit of meekness, considering ourselves, lest we also be tempted.
Bless those who have done us good, and render seven fold into their own bosom, and forgive those who have done us evil, and enable us to forgive them.
Bless those who are near and dear to us; may they be near and dear to thee. Bless them in their outward comforts; but above all, may their souls prosper.
Be gracious to our native land. Be mindful of our rulers. Teach our senators wisdom; and so control the minds and hearts of those who are entrusted with the public welfare, as that they may glorify thee, and secure the best good of the people. Bless the gates of Zion, and all the dwellings of Jacob. Let thy secret reside in the families of them that fear thee; and may those that have neglected to call upon thy name, immediately adopt the resolution of Joshua, As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
*To thy merciful providence we owe it, that we have been preserved another night. We thank thee that thou hast kept us from the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and the destruction that wasteth by noonday. We thank thee that thine eyes have been open towards us, and that no plague has come nigh our dwelling. May we realize this morning that our lives are thy gift, and that we are brought under renewed obligations to devote ourselves to thy service. With this feeling deeply engraved on our souls, with a deep and solemn conviction that all we have is thine, may we go forth to meet the various trials, dangers, and duties of the day before us. May we go forth to our work and our labour until evening, under thy merciful providence. Bless thou the work of our hands; and at the close of the day gather us together in safety and in health, to offer to thee an acceptable sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.* .
This morning sacrifice, we offer in the all prevailing name of our adorable Redeemer—and unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
and hath made us kings and priests unto God, and to his Father, to him be glory and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen.
THURSDAY EVENING. Jay.
O God, all thy works praise thee, and thy saints bless thee. By thy mercies, we again surround this family altar, and engage in the exercises of devotion. May we worship thee, a holy God, in the beauty of holiness; and worship thee, who art a Spirit, in spirit and in truth. Such worship alone thy word requires; but such worship, thy grace alone can enable us to render. For we know, from thy word, and from our own experience we know, that without thee, we can do nothing. All our sufficiency is of thee: do thou work in us to will, and to do, of thy good pleasure.
We would call to remembrance our true character and condition before thee. We would not go about to establish our own righteousness, or seek to deny or extenuate our guilt. We are not only unprofitable servants, but condemned criminals. We confess the number and offensiveness of our transgressions, and acknowledge that we deserve to perish. But we bless thee for the everlasting consolation and good hope, through grace, which the gospel affords; for the news of a Mediator between thee and us; of a High Priest who has put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; of an Advocate with the Father, who ever lives to make intercession for us, and of a Saviour, in whom it has pleased thee, that all fulness should dwell.
Produce in us, all the feelings of those who are blessed with repentance unto life. Give us that faith by which we can be justified from all things, and have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. To the Redeemer's cross may we retreat, and there find security and relief, refreshment and delight. Assure •us of an interest in thy favour, which is life; and clothe us with thine image, which is the beauty and dignity of the soul.
We bless thee for thy word, which we have been reading. May it dwell in us richly in all wisdom. May we yield a suitable attention to its various parts. May we make it, not only our song in the house of our pilgrimage, but the man of our counsel, a light unto our feet, and a lamp unto our paths. May we take it along with us, into all the concerns of life; and whether we are rich or poor, whether we are parents or children, whether we are appointed to govern or serve, may we walk by this rule, that mercy and peace may be upon us.
May we ever be willing that the Lord should choose our inheritance for us, and readily and piously accommodate ourselves to the dispensations of thy providence. May we never lean to our own understanding: may we never take a step, without asking counsel of the Lord, nor be unwilling to take one, at the intimation of thy pleasure. May we never think that thou art less wise, and righteous, and good, in a cloudy and dark day, than in a shining one; when we cannot trace thee, may we trust; and walking by faith, and not by sight, be fully persuaded, that just and right are all thy ways, O thou King of saints.
Regard those, who, under the pressure of affliction, are saying, Brethren pray for us. Be with them in trouble. Thou knowest the anxieties of thy people, lest by any of their temper or carriage in the evil day, they should injure the religion they profess: let thy grace be sufficient for them: let faith and patience have their perfect work: let them glorify thee in all their trials.
Bless all in authority over us, and so rule their hearts and strengthen their hands, that they may punish wickedness and vice, and maintain true religion and virtue.
May all those who are placed above others in condition, go before them in the profession of truth and the practice of holiness, and be examples to all inferior ranks in society.
*We now commit ourselves to thy merciful protection for this night. May we lie down to rest at peace with thee, and with all the world. Forgive, we humbly pray thee, all the sins we may have committed this day. Whatever we have done or said amiss, do thou pardon. If in our intercourse with our friends or Foes we have manifested a spirit unlike that of thy dear Son, do thou be graciously pleased to forgive it. If we have neglected our duty to the poor, or the needy; if we have failed in setting a holy example before eachother; if we have had improper feelings towards thee, or our fellow men, we pray thee to forgive us. Sprinkle upon us that blood which cleanseth from all sin; and take us into thy holy care and keeping. Let no plague come nigh our dwelling. Preserve us from sickness and sudden death; from alarm, and from the devouring element; from the pestilence that walketh in darkness, as thou hast done from the destruction that wasteth at noon-day. And raise us in the morning, fitted for all the duties and events of another day. These mercies, and whatever else we need, we humbly ask in the name of thy dear Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ; to whom, with thee, and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and praise, both now and for ever.* Amen.
FRIDAY MORNING. Jay.
Our voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord: in the morning will we direct our prayer unto thee, O thou Most High! How does it become us to be thankful! Many, during the past night, have had no place where to lay their head. Many, the victims of disease, have been full of tossing to and fro, until the dawning of the day; so that their bed has not comforted them, nor their couch eased their complaint. Many have been deprived of rest while watching over their connexions in pain and sorrow. How many have slept the sleep of death, and will not wake till the heavens are no more! Others, whose lives are prolonged, have risen to be surrounded with want and wo: and thousands, who have all things richly to enjoy, have risen to enjoy another day without God in the world.
And why is not this the case with us? Thou, O God, hast remembered, and distinguished, and indulged us. Bless the Lord, O our souls, and all that is within us bless his holy name. O magnify the Lord, and let us exalt his name together.
And thy mercies have been new every morning, yea, every moment. All our desires have not been gratified; but it was love that denied us, when the accomplishment of our wishes would have proved our ruin or our injury; we have had our trials, but they have been few compared with our sins; they have been attended with numberless alleviations.
Thou hast often wiped away our tears; and restored peace to thy mourners. Thou hast never chastened us but for our profit; we already see the design of many of our griefs, and can say, It is good for me that I have been afflicted; and in all other cases where darkness yet clouds the dispensation, we desire to walk by faith. We believe that thou hast done all things well, and that thy work is perfect.
But, O, what do we owe thee for the word of thy truth—the throne of thy grace—the Son of thy love— thy unspeakable gift; what do we owe thee, that we have any reason to hope that we are in Christ, and free from all condemnation; and that when he, who is our life, shall appear, we shall also appear with him in glory, and be forever with the Lord!
Surely, gratitude becomes us that will not evaporate in a morning acknowledgment with the lip, but such as will keep us in the fear of the Lord all the day long, and lead us to ask, What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me? We therefore, by the mercies of God, present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto thee, which is our reasonable service.
And now, O thou Author of all good, we come to thee for the grace another day will require—the grace its duties and events will require; for we know not when we leave our apartments in the morning, what a day will bring forth. But we know that we are stepping into a wicked world, and that we carry about us an evil heart: we know that without thee we can do nothing: and we know that there is nothing with which we shall have any concern in the day, however harmless in itself, but may prove an occasion of sinning and falling, unless we are kept by the power of God. We, therefore, desire to commit ourselves into thy holy keeping. Hold thou us up, and we shall be safe. Preserve our understandings from the subtlety of error; our affections from the love of idols; our senses from the ungovernable impressions of outward objects; our character from every stain of vice, and our profession from every appearance of evil: and may the God of peace sanctify us wholly; and may our whole spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May we engage in nothing on which we cannot implore thy blessing, and to which we cannot welcome thy inspection. Prosper us in our lawful undertakings, or prepare us for disappointment. Give us neither poverty nor riches. Feed us with food convenient for us, lest we be full and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest we be poor, and steal, and take the name of our God in vain.
May every creature be good to us, being sanctified by the word of God and prayer. Teach us how to use the world as not abusing it. Enable us to improve our talents, and to redeem our time. May we walk in wisdom towards them that are without, and in kindness towards them that are within; and do good as we have opportunity unto all men, especially unto them that are of the household of faith.
And unto Him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us 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 ever. Amen.
FRIDAY EVENING. Jay.
O God, thy command and thy promise, our duty and our privilege, induce us to avail ourselves of every opportunity of approaching the throne of thy grace. We are poor and helpless and needy. It is not in the power of men and angels to reach our cause; and afford us the blessings we so much need, and so much desire. Our only hope is in the name of the Lord God, who made heaven and earth.
But thou art over all; and rich unto all that call upon thee; and thou Lord hast not forsaken them that seek thee. We love to reflect upon the displays of thy perfections; and to contemplate, what thou hast done for others as poor and destitute, as sinful and guilty, as .we are: and to remember that thy hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor thy ear heavy that it cannot hear.
Behold a company of guilty suppliants at thy footstool. O, thou God of all grace, work thou in us to will and to do of thy good pleasure; and vile as we are in ourselves, make us an eternal excellency, the joy of many generations. Our understandings are darkened. Our hearts are hearts of stone. Our very conscience also is defiled. Our affections are earthly and sensual. Open thou the eyes of our understanding. Give us hearts of flesh. Purify our consciences from dead works to serve the living God. Set our affections on things that are above: and as he who has called us is holy, so may we also be holy in all manner of conversation and godliness.
Deliver us from the bondage of corruption, and bring us into the glorious liberty of thy children: that being made free from sin, and become servants unto God, we may have our fruit unto holiness, and our end everlasting life.
Preserve us from all self-delusion, especially where our souls are concerned. May we never be flattered by the good opinion of our fellow-creatures, against the convictions of our own consciences; but remember, that if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and kuoweth all things. May we never substitute mere opinions, and outward forms and ceremonies, in'the room of that grace, which renews the soul and sanctifies the life. Ever keep alive in our minds the belief, that in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature: and in the examinations of our religious state and character, may we look after that kingdom, which is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Inspire us with a well-grounded hope of being, one day, presented before the presence of thy glory; when we shall see thee without obscurity, approach thee without sin, serve thee without imperfection, and enjoy thee without sorrow. How remote now do we often feel from this exalted state? And how improbable does it frequently seem that we should ever attain it? We have never yet been better than a bruised reed, and a smoking flax: and thy patience alone could have borne with our imperfections and perverseness. Yet we trust the root of the matter is found in us; and we bless thee, if thy graces—by which alone we are what we are, has caused us to loathe sin, and abhor ourselves, and to hunger and thirst after righteousness, and to place our happiness in serving and enjoying thee.
And we pray, that our path may be as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Complete that which is lacking in our faith. Lead us into all truth; and establish our hearts with grace. Fill our minds with Ihe sublime and elevating objects of revelation, that worldly things may find there no room: and keep near us, all the affecting and awful motives of the gospel, that we may not be able to sin,—the view of thine all-seeing eye, a burning world, a judgment to come, and the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And the Lord make us, also, to increase and abound in love, one towards another, and towards all men. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from us, with all malice; and may we be kind, one towards another, tender hearted; forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven us.
Prepare us for all the duties and trials that lie before us. We bless thee for thy promises, which provide against every want we feel; and for every condition in which we can be found. In God will we praise his word. In God have we put our trust. We will not fear what flesh can do unto us. Thou tellest our wanderings. Put thou our tears into thy bottle. Are they not in thy book?
We commend ourselves with all our relations and friends, this evening, to thy forgiving mercy, and providential care. O Thou, that givest thy beloved sleep, indulge us with refreshing repose; or if thou holdest our eyes waking in the night, may thy song be with us, and our prayer unto the God of our life. Guide us by thy counsel, through life, and afterward receive us to glory.
And to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory, and majesty, dominion and power, for ever and ever. Smm.
SATURDAY MORNING. Jay.
O Thou King eternal, immortal, and invisible—we would adore thee, and take shame to ourselves: and though allowed to approach thy divine majesty, we would never forget the sentiments of humiliation and contrition, which become such creatures as we are. Father! we have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and are not worthy to be called thy children: we are not worthy of the least of all thy mercies. Yea, we have merited thy displeasure; and thy righteousness would be completely acquitted in our destruction.
O, for hearts of flesh! Lord, produce in us that sensibility of soul, which will lead us to feel our vileness, to deplore our guilt, and to cast ourselves at thy feet, abhorring ourselves and repenting in dust and ashes. And impart to us that faith, which will enable us to hope in thy word, and derive strong consolation from the invitations and promises of the gospel. We are come to implore the greatest blessings the God of love can give: we are come to call thee, Abba Father; to enter thy house; to sit down at thy table; to lean on thy arm; to walk with God; but we are not come unbidden or uncalled: Thou hast called us by thy grace; and it is thy commandment that we should believe on the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ. Lord, we assent, we submit, we depend, we apply. Since he came into the world to save sinners, we take him as our Saviour; and glory in him, as made to us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption.
And O, may our minds be fixed and filled with admiring thoughts of his person and offices; may our hearts be inflamed with a sense of his boundless compassion and love. By the new and living way which he has not only revealed but consecrated for us, may we come to thee; and enjoy all the advantages of a state of reconciliation and friendship with God. May the most open and familiar intercourse be maintained between thee and our souls. To thee may we commit our way and our works; and in every thing by prayer and supplication make known our requests unto God; and be thou always near, to guide us and to defend; to relieve us in trouble, and to help us in duty. And may we walk humbly with our God; wondering at the condescension, that deigns to regard our mean affairs; the patience, that bears with our manners; and the kindness, that employs so many means to advance our everlasting welfare.
We grieve to think, that a world so full of thy bounty, should be so empty of thy praise. O, that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men. Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion; bless the Lord, O my soul.
Again thy visitation hath preserved our spirits. Through the dark and silent watches of the night, thou hast suffered no evil to befall us, nor any plague to come nigh our dwelling. And we are not only the living to praise thee, this morning, but the distinguished, and the indulged. Many who have seen the light of the day, as well as ourselves, are encompassed with want, and pain, ana wictchcdncss; but we have all things richly to enjoy.
Thou takest pleasure in the prosperity of thy servants; may we always take pleasure in the advancement of thy glory. Thou art never weary in doing us good; may we never grow weary in well doing. Thy mercies are new every morning; every morning, by thy mercies, may we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable, which is our reasonable service.
And to the God of our salvation, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be ascribed, the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
SATURDAY EVENING. Jay.
O God, thou hast made, and thou upholdest all things by the word of thy power. Darkness is thy pavilion. Thou walkest upon the wings of the wind. All nations before thee are as nothing. One generation passeth away, and another cometh; and we are hastening back to the dust from whence we were taken. The heavens we behold will vanish away like the cloud that covers them; and the earth we tread will dissolve like a morning dream; but thou art, from everlasting to everlasting, God over all, unchangeably the same, and thy years shall not fail.
Infinitely great and glorious as thou art, we are thy offspring and thy care. Thy hands have made us and fashioned us. Thou hast watched over us with more than parental tenderness. Thou hast holden our soul in life, and not suffered our feet to be moved. Thy divine power has given us all things, not only necessary for life, but godliness. Bless the Lord, O, our souls, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all our iniquities; who healeth all our diseases; who redeemeth our lives from destruction; who crowneth us with loving kindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth our mouth with good things, so that our youth is renewed like the eagles'.
We raise this evening a fresh memorial, and inscribe it to the God of our salvation. Hitherto hath the Lord helped us. We have passed, not only through another day, but through another week. The sun has not smitten us by day, nor the moon by night. We have been preserved, in our going out, and coming in. But thine has been the vigilance, that turned aside, the evils which threatened us. Thine have been the supplies that have nourished us. Thine the comforts that have indulged us. Thine the relations and friends that have delighted us. Thine have been the means of grace which have edified us; and thine the book, which, amidst all our enjoyments, has told us, that this is not our rest; and in all our successes, that one thing is yet needful.
Nothing can equal the number of thy mercies, but our imperfections and sins. These, O God, we would not conceal, or palliate; but confess them, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
In what a condition would we be this evening, were it not for the assurance that there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared, and with thee plenteous redemption. Yet, while we hope for pardon through the blood of the cross, we pray to be clothed with humility; to be quickened in thy way; and to be more devoted to the things that belong to our everlasting peace.
How soon has the week rolled away I Its days have fled like a dream, a vapour, a shadow. So will all our days flee; so will they all appear when the end arrives. O, help us to keep that end in remembrance; and endeavour to view things now, as they will appear from the borders of the grave. May we know how frail we are, that we may be cured of the folly of delay and indecision; and so number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
May we call the approaching Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and may we honour thee, in not doing our own ways, nor finding our own pleasures, nor speaking our own words. May the private moments of the day, be sacred; and the social—innocent and edifying. And may we keep our foot, when we go to the house of God, and offer not the sacrifice of fools. Let us not go as they go, and sit as they sit, and hear thy words, but do them not.
Preserve us from trifling with the things of the soul and eternity, or trusting in those privileges, which, unimproved, will only augment our guilt and our misery.
Thy people, the Jews, were distinguished by thy favours, above all the families of the earth; but wrath came upon them to the uttermost. The churches of Asia provoked thee to remove the candlestick out of its place; and they were left in darkness. We have awful examples still nearer. How many, who once heard and professed the gospel, have been turned by the abuse of it into apostates and infidels, blasphemers and persecutors; ten fold more the children of hell than before; while numbers, who yet maintain the form of godliness, are too hardened to feel the power of it.
While, therefore, we go to thy house- in the multitude of thy mercies, may we in thy/ear worship towards thy holy temple; for thou art greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints. O, let us not perish under means designed to save us. O, let not the savour of
life unto life, prove to us only the savour of death unto death.
Make the place of thy feet glorious. Bring us to thy holy mountain, and if we are not made joyful in thy house of prayer, convince us, alarm us, humble us, banish the spirit of the world from our hearts, and fill us with all the fulness of God.
So we thy people, and the sheep of thy pasture, will give thee thanks forever, we will show forth thy praise throughout all generations. Amen.