PRAYERS AND THANKSGIVINGS
LAST EVENING OF THE OLD YEAR. Jay.
O God, thou hast been our refuge and dwelling place in all generations; before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. But as for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth; for the wind passeth over it, and it is gone, and the place thereof knoweth it no more.
We appear before thee, to close in thy presence, another of the revolutions of our fleeting existence; earnestly praying that the season may not pass away, without suitable and serious reflections. We know that our life is a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away; we know the frailty of our frame, and the numberless diseases and disasters to which we are exposed—so teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
What numbers of our fellow creatures have, during the past year, been carried down to their long home— but we have been preserved; and are living to praise thee this day. Blessed be the God of salvation, to whom belong the issues from death, that we are yet in the regions of hope, that we have yet an accepted time, and a day of salvation; and that our opportunity of doing good, as well as of gaining good, are still prolonged.
Thou hast commanded us to remember all the way, which thou hast led us in the wilderness. The scene of our journeying has indeed been a wilderness; but the hand that has conducted us is divine; and a thousand privileges have been experienced in it.
Thou hast corrected us, but it is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed. ,
We have had our afflictions, but how few have they been in number; how short in continuance; how alleviated in degree; how merciful in design; how instructive and useful in their results.
Thou hast not dealt with us after our sins, neither hast thou rewarded us according to our iniquities.
But O what a series of bounties and blessings, present themselves to our minds, when we look back upon the year through which we have passed: and to what, but to thine unmerited goodness in the Son of thy love, are we indebted for all. Health, strength, food, raiment, residence, friends, relations, comfort, pleasure, hope, usefulness,—all our benefits have dropped from thy gracious hand; and there has not been a day, or an hour, or a moment, but has published thy kindness and thy care.
Especially would we acknowledge thy goodness, in continuing to us the means of grace. Whatever has been denied us, we have had the provisions of thy house. The toils and trials of the week, have been refreshed and relieved by the delights of the Sabbath. Our eyes have seen our teachers. Our ears have heard the joyful sound of the gospel; and our hearts have often said, Lord, it is good for us to be here.
*And we especially praise thy name, O thou God of grace, for all the success which has attended the means of grace. We thank thee that thy Holy Spirit has been sent down upon thy churches. We praise thee that thy grace has been imparted to any to comfort the disconsolate; to strengthen the feeble; to support the dying. We bless thee that the preached gospel has been attended with success; and that the reviving influences of thy Holy Spirit have been felt in our land. We thank thee for all the mild and benignant influences of our holy religion upon the nation amid whom we live; and that the inestimable blessings of liberty, peace, prosperity, and education, are still continued with us. And we give praise to thy name that thou hast remembered thy promises to thy church—that thou hast extended its cords, and strengthened its stakes—that thou hast excited thy people to the great work of spreading thy gospel among the nations—and hast crowned their efforts with so cheering success.*
And O, that every moment of the past year could, if called upon—and it will be called upon, bear witness to our gratitude, love and obedience. O, that it was not in its power to convict us, of the most unworthy requitals of thy goodness. To thee, O Lord, belong glory and honour, but to us shame and confusion of face. O, who can understand his errors. O how many duties have we neglected or improperly performed. How little have we redeemed our time, or improved our talents. How little have we been alive to thy glory, or sought, or even seized, when presented, opportunities of serving our generation. How unprofited have we been under the richest means of religious prosperity—and, when for the time we ought to be able to teach others, we need to be again taught ourselves, what are the first principles of the oracles of God.
God, be merciful to us sinners. Pardon our iniquity, for it is great. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness; and work in us to will and to do of thy good pleasure. Let us not carry one of our old sins with us into the new year—unforgiven—unrepented of—unbewailed— unabhorred. With a new portion of time, may we have new hearts; and become new creatures.
If this coming year we should die—and in the midst of life we are in death—may death prove our eternal gain: and if our days are prolonged, may we walk before the Lord in the land of the living, and show forth all thy praise. The number of our months is with thee. In thy hand our breath is, and thine are all our ways. Prepare us for all: and be with us in all: and bring us safely through all, into the rest that remains for thy people; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour; in whose words we call thee, Our Father, &c. Amen.
FIRST MORNING OF THE NEW YEAR. Jay.
O Lord, of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. We desire, O God, with the profoundest reverence to contemplate the eternity of thy nature. May our minds be filled with elevation and grandeur, at the thought of a Being with whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day; a Being, who, amidst all the revolutions of empire, and the lapse of ages, feels no variableness nor shadow of turning. How glorious, with immortality attached to them, are all thy attributes; and how secure are the hopes and happiness of all those who know thy name and put their trust in thee.
May we rejoice, that while men die, the Lord liveth; that while all creatures are found broken reeds and broken cisterns, he is the Rock of ages, and the Fountain of living waters. O that we may turn away our hearts from vanity; and among all the uncertainties of the present state, look after an interest in that everlasting covenant, which is ordered in all things and sure. May we seek after an union with thyself, as the strength of our heart, and our portion forever, for thou hast assured us that while the world passeth away, and the lusts thereof, he that doeth the will of God, abideth for ever.
We thank thee that thou hast revealed to us the way in which a fallen and perishing sinner can be eternally united to thyself; and that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. In his name we come; O, receive us graciously; justify us freely; renew us in the spirit of our minds; and bless us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
By the lapse of our days, and weeks, and years, which we are called upon so often to remark, may we be reminded how short our life is, and how soon we shall close our eyes on every prospect below the sun; and, O, suffer us not to neglect the claims of eternity, in the pursuit of the trifles of time; but knowing how frail we are, may we be wise enough to choose that good part which shall not be taken away from us; and before we leave the present evil world, may we secure an inheritance in another and a better. May thoughts of death and eternity so impress our minds, as to put seriousness into our prayers, and vigour into our resolutions; may they loosen us from an undue attachment to things seen and temporal; so that we may weep as though we wept not, and rejoice as if we rejoiced not.
And remembering that the present life, so short, so uncertain—and so much of which is already vanished, is the only opportunity we shall ever have for usefulness, may we be concerned to redeem the time. May we be alive and awake at every call of charity and piety. May we feed the hungry, and clothe the naked; may we instruct the ignorant; reclaim the vicious; forgive the offending; diffuse the gospel; and consider one another to provoke one another unto love and good works, not forsaking the assembling ourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as we see the day approaching.
As we have entered on a new period of life, may we faithfully examine ourselves, to see what has been amiss in our former temper or conduct; and in thy strength, may we resolve to correct it. And may we inquire for the future—with a full determination to reduce our knowledge to practice—Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?
Prepare us for all the duties of the ensuing year. AH the wisdom and strength necessary for the performance of them must come from thyself; may we, therefore, live a life of self-distrust, of divine dependence, and of prayer; may we ask and receive, that our joy may be full; may we live in the spirit, and walk in the spirit.
If we are indulged with prosperity, O, let not our prosperity destroy us, or injure us. If we are exercised with adversity, suffer us not to sink in the hour of trouble, or sin against God. May we know how to be abased, without despondence; and to abound, without pride. If our relative comforts are continued to us, may we love them without idolatry, and hold them at thy disposal; and if they are recalled from us, may we be enabled to say, the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; and blessed be the name of the Lord.
Fit us for all events. We know not what a day may bring forth; but we encourage ourselves in the Lord our God, and go forward. Thou hast been thus far our helper; thou hast promised to be with us in every condition; thou hast engaged to make all things work together for good; all thy ways are mercy and truth. May we, therefore, be careful for nothing; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, may we make known our requests unto God; and may the peace of God, that passeth all understanding, keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Bless, O bless the young; may each of them, this day, hear thee, saying, My son give me thy heart; and, from this time, may they cry unto thee, as the guide of their youth. Regard those who have reached the years, wherein they say, we have no pleasure in them. If old in sin, may they be urged to embrace, before it be forever too late, the things that belong to their peace; and if old in grace, uphold them with thy free Spirit, and help them to remember, that now is their salvation nearer than when they believed.
Bless all the dear connexions attached to us by nature, friendship, or religion. Grace be to them, and peace be multiplied.
Let our country share thy protection and smiles. Bless all our rulers and magistrates.
*We commend to thee, most merciful Father, the interests of thy church in the advancing year. Not knowing that it will be thy good pleasure to keep us in the land of the living, yet we pray that thou wilt regard with special favour thy holy church; and smile continually upon Zion. Give grace to thy ministers that they may preach thy gospel with simplicity, power, and success. Bless all Sunday schools. And may thy Spirit be given to enlighten all Sunday school teachers, and to sanctify all Sunday school scholars. May thy Holy Spirit descend upon the churches. Let pure and undefiled religion prevail in all the congregations of thy people. May sinners be converted in great num
bers to thyself; and may this year be distinguished by great and successful efforts to spread the gospel through this land, and through all the world. Smile, O gracious God, on all missionaries of the cross; and amid all their labours and sufferings, and privations, do thou sustain them. Let not thy people faint, and grow weary in this work; and during the advancing year, grant, we beseech thee, that the power of thy gospel may be felt in all lands, and soon may the whole family of man be brought under the saving power of divine truth.*
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen,
FOR CHRISTMAS DAY. Cotterill.
Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we humbly beseech thee to accept our hearty thanks for the manifold mercies which thou hast poured upon us.
We bless thee, especially, for sending thy well beloved Son, to take our nature upon him, and to be made in the likeness of sinful flesh.
We rejoice that unto us a Child is born; that unto us a Son is given- And we would join the multitude of the heavenly host, in ascribing glory to thee in the highest; peace on earth; good will toward men.
We praise thee for revealing to us the way in which mercy and truth have met together; in which righteousness and peace have kissed each other. And we account it a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Help us, O Lord, to employ this day in meditating on this great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, which thy holy angels desire to look into.
And as, when thou didst bring thy first-begotten into the world, thou didst command all the heavenly host to worship him, so may we also give unto him the glory which is due unto his name.
O thou great and glorious Redeemer, who art Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, we praise thee; we bless thee; we worship thee; we glorify thee; we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord God, Lamb of God, the only begotten Son Jesus Christ, King of kings, and Lord of lords, Emmanuel, God with us. For thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father.
But chiefly, at this time, we adore thee for leaving the glory which thou hadst with the Father before the world began. We know thy grace, O Lord Jesus Christ, that though thou wast rich, yet for our sakes thou didst become poor, that we, through thy poverty, might be made rich. We beseech thee, by the mystery of thy holy incarnation and nativity, good Lord, deliver us. O Son of David, have mercy upon us. Thou, who didst come that we might have life, and might have it more abundantly, be gracious unto us.
Thou who wast called Jesus, that thou mightest save thy people from their sins, save us, and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.
And give unto us grace, Almighty God, that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us,in great humility.
As he came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and hath left us an example to do unto others as he hath done unto us, so may we learn to take his yoke upon us, and to learn of him, who was meek and lowly in heart, that we may find rest unto our souls. Grant, that we, being regenerate and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit, and follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; ever remembering that he gave himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify us unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, thy special blessing to us this day.
Have compassion, also, on those who have never heard of the coming of our blessed Lord in the flesh. In him who hath arisen to rule over the Gentiles, let the Gentiles trust, and find his rest to be glorious.
Mercifully with thy favour look upon the whole Christian world. May all that name the name of Christ depart from iniquity. Especially preserve them from turning this season into an occasion of revellings and unholy mirth. Let them rejoice, as Christians, in Christ their Saviour; and let thy grace teach them to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
And, as at thy first coming, O Lord Jesus Christ, thou didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee, we beseech thee, finally, to grant, that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries, may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; that, at thy second coming to judge the world, we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in whose name we further pray:—
Our Father, &c.
FOR CHRISTMAS-DAY. CoUeriU.
O Holy and merciful God, who art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and yet long-suffering towards sinners, we approach thy throne, acknowledging our unworthiness, and putting our whole trust and confidence in the promises which thou hast made unto us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We have greatly provoked thee to anger by our manifold offences; and, were not judgment thy strange work, we should long since have received at thy hands the just reward of our evil doings.
But thou declarest thy almighty power most chiefly in showing mercy and pity. Thou hast not stretched forth the right hand of thy majesty to avenge thee of thine enemies; but with thine own arm thou hast wrought out redemption for us. Thou hast not sent thy Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.
We bless thee for revealing to us this great mystery, which was hid from ages and generations, but is now made manifest unto the sons of men. We rejoice that unto us was born a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Our souls do magnify the Lord, and our spirits do rejoice in God our Saviour. Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed be thou, the God of Israel, for visiting and redeeming thy people, and raising up a horn of salvation for them; for performing the promise made unto their fathers, and for remembering thy holy covenant.
Praised be thy name, for sending forth, in the fulness of time, thy only begotten Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Glory be unto thee, for causing thy loving kindness towards us to appear. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to thy mercy, thou hast saved us.
O thou, who wast in Christ reconciling the world unto thyself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, forgive us all our trespasses. Through him who was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, and came to seek and to save that which was lost, have mercy upon us. By the mystery of his holy incarnation and nativity, good Lord, deliver us.
And, since thy blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil, to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life, grant, we beseech thee, that having this hope, we may purify ourselves, even as he is pure; and that, when he shall come again, in power and great glory, we may be made like unto him, in his eternal and glorious kingdom.
But who may abide the day of his coming? And who may stand when he appeareth? O thou compassionate and faithful High Priest, partaker of our flesh and blood, who wast in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin, and art not ashamed to call us brethren, have pity upon our infirmities; and grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, may serve thee, without fear, in holiness and righteousness before thee, all the days of our life.
Fill our hearts with love to thee for the unspeakable gift which thou didst vouchsafe to bestow upon a sinful world; and dispose us always most thankfully to receive the same.
Let the same mind, also, be in us, which was in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, and thinking it not robbery to be equal with God, yet made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was found in fashion as a man, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
Help us continually to follow the example of his great humility. In lowliness of mind may we esteem others better than ourselves. And give us grace so to walk in all holiness of living, that we may not be ashamed before him at his coming.
We pray likewise, O heavenly Father, that, through thy lender mercies, the Day-Spring from on high, which hath visited us, may arise, and shine upon the nations that are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide their feet into the way of peace.
Grant that it may both be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and be the glory of thy people Israel.
And may none of those who behold it, love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.
Raise up faithful and able ministers of the New Testament, to go before the face of the Lord, to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people, by the remission of their sins.
Pour down thy grace and heavenly benediction upon all who are called Christians. May the children of Zion be joyful in their King! And may they so truly follow the blessed steps of their Lord and Master, that they may be saved by him in the great day of his appearing and glory. Grant this for Jesus Christ's sake, our only Lord and Saviour.
Our Father, &c.
FOR A SACRAMENT SABBATH. CttteriU.
O Holy and gracious Lord God, who •wilt by no means clear the guilty, yet sparest those who confess their sins unto thee, look down with compassion upon us, thy servants, who are now humbled before thee, imploring thy fatherly forgiveness. Spare us, good Lord, spare us, for we are miserable sinners. We cannot set all our transgressions in order before thee, nor confess them so truly as we ought to do; yet we desire not to cloak and dissemble them before thy face, O heavenly Father, trusting to thy word, that if we confess our sins, thou art faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Be merciful unto us, we most humbly beseech thee; for we put our whole trust and confidence in thy mercy, and not in any thing that we do. We have destroyed ourselves, but in thee is our help. Save, Lord, or we perish; for there is salvation in no other. To whom else should we go? Thou only hast the words of eternal life. Grant unto us, O Lord, we beseech thee, pardon and peace; that we may be cleansed from all our sins, and may serve thee with a quiet mind.
We praise thee, O God, for the multitude of thy blessings vouchsafed unto us, particularly for the many opportunities which thou affordest us of becoming wise unto salvation.
What shall we render unto thee this day, for all the benefits which thou hast done unto us? We will receive the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. We will pay our vows in the courts of thy house, and in the presence of all thy people.
We give thee most humble and hearty thanks, O Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that thou hast given thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, not only to die for us, but to be our spiritual food and sustenance in the holy sacrament of his body and blood. Dispose us religiously and devoutly to receive the same, in remembrance of his meritorious cross and passion; whereby alone we obtain the remission of our sins, and are made partakers of the kingdom of heaven. Teach us to consider the dignity of that holy mystery, and so to search and examine our own consciences, that we may come holy and clean to such a heavenly feast, in the marriage garment required by thee in holy Scripture, and may be received as worthy partakers of that holy table.
May we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood! May we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us! May we be one with Christ, and Christ with us! And may his body, which was given for us, and his precious blood, which was shed upon the cross, preserve our bodies and souls unto everlasting life!
Mercifully vouchsafe, O Lord, to extend unto all our fellow-creatures the inestimable benefits of Christ's suffering and death.
Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all thy ministering servants, that they may, both by their life and doctrine, set forth thy true and lively word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy sacraments. And to all thy people give thy heavenly grace; especially to such as shall assemble with us in thy holy temple, and shall come to the holy communion of the body and blood of our Saviour Christ. May they diligently examine themselves, before they eat of that bread, and drink of that cup, and so judge themselves, that they be not judged of thee. May they examine themselves, whether they repent truly of their former sins, steadfastly purpose to lead a new life, have a lively faith in thy mercies through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of his death, and be in charity with all men. And may numbers be added to thy church continually, of those who are willing to join themselves unto thee in an everlasting covenant, not to be forgotten.
Pitifully behold the sorrows of those who are filled with groundless fears, lest they should eat and drink unworthily. May they hear and receive the comfortable things which Christ our Saviour saith unto all who truly turn unto him. May they come unto him labouring and heavy laden with the burden of their sins, and so find rest unto their souls.
Finally, we beseech thee to have compassion upon those who shall most unthankfully refuse to come to thy table, though so graciously called and bidden. May
they take heed, lest, by withdrawing themselves from this holy supper of their Lord, they provoke his just indignation against them. May they earnestly consider how little their excuses will avail before thee, and by thy grace be brought to a better mind; seriously remembering, that if they eat not the flesh of the Son of man, and drink not his blood, they have no life in them, and neither part nor lot in his salvation.
Grant this, O God of mercy, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Saviour.
Our Father, &c.
FOR A SACRAMENT SABBATH. CotteriU.
Almighty God and Father, who, according to the multitude of thy mercies, dost so put away the sins of those who truly repent, that thou rememberest them no more, open thine eye of mercy upon us, thy servants, who earnestly desire thy pardon and forgiveness. Renew in us, O heavenly Father, whatever hath been decayed by the fraud and malice of the devil, and by our own carnal will and frailty. And forasmuch as we put our full trust and confidence in thee, impute not unto us our manifold transgressions, but wash them away in the blood of thy beloved Son. Graciously vouchsafe to receive us to thy favour. Sanctify us and strengthen us by thy Holy Spirit; and at length bring us unto the kingdom of heaven, and to everlasting life.
We praise thee for thy promises of forgiveness to those who truly turn unto thee.
We bless thee for another day of sacred rest which thou hast vouchsafed unto us, and for all the blessings of the same.
Above all things, we give thee most humble and hearty thanks for the redemption of the world by the death of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. May we always remember the exceeding great love of our Master and only Saviour Jesus Christ, thus dying for us, and the innumerable benefits which, by his precious blood-shedding, he hath obtained unto us, and also his goodness and loving-kindness in instituting and ordaining holy ordinances as pledges of his love, to our great and endless comfort.
Grant that we, who have eaten and drunk in thy presence, may receive the strengthening and refreshing of our souls by the body and blood of Christ. Help us to remember the solemn vows which we have this day renewed in thy presence, and in the presence of all thy people; and enable us truly to perform them. May we go forth into the world bearing about us the marks of a crucified Saviour. Having enlisted ourselves again under the banners of the Captain of our salvation, may we manfully fight the good fight of faith, and continue his faithful soldiers and servants unto our lives' end. Grant that we may have power and strength to have victory, and to triumph against the devil, and the world, and the flesh. May we be encouraged in our holy warfare by the ensamples of the glorious company of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the prophets, the noble army of martyrs, and of all the holy Church triumphant, who have been made more than conquerors through him who loved them, and bought them with his blood.
As thou hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Jesus Christ, our Lord; grant us grace so to follow thy blessed saints in all virtuous and holy living, that we may enter into those unspeakable joys, which thou hast prepared for them that unfeignedly love thee. And when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, may we sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all thy redeemed people, at the marriage-supper of the Lamb.
Grant also, O Lord, we beseech thee, that those who have waited on thee this day in thy holy temple, and around thy table, may renew their spiritual strength.
May all men see that they are thy disciples, by the love which they have one to another. O God, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth, send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Let there be no schism in the body of Christ; but let the members have the same care one of another, knowing, that if any sin against their brother, and wound his weak conscience, they sin against Christ.
And since the offence of the cross is not ceased, comfort and succour all those who may any ways suffer from love to thee and thy cause. Hide them under thy wing. Enable them to witness a good confession, and to give no just occasion to their enemies to blaspheme. By well doing, let them put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if peradventure thou mayest give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.
Convert the hearts of all those who are thrusting away from them thy great mercies; especially of such as have this day neglected thy ordinances, and turned aside from thy holy table.
And, if any have there appeared before thee with unclean hands and unsanctified hearts, without the marriage-garment required by thee in holy Scripture, not discerning the Lord's body, may they search and examine their conscience, and repent; lest, after the taking of this holy sacrament, Satan enter into them as he entered into Judas, and fill them full of all iniquity, and bring them to destruction both of body and of soul.
We ask these blessings in the name of Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Saviour.
Our Father, &c.
O Lord God, glorious in holiness, and of purer eyes than to behold any iniquity without abhorrence of it, and indignation against it! How shall man, sinful man, that drinks in iniquity like water, appear before thee? And how shall we, vile and frail, polluted and depraved as we are, show ourselves in the presence of such a great and wise, just and holy God, as thou art? When we look upon thy perfect law, and see what we should be, what manner of person, in all holy conversation and godliness; and when we reflect on our own hearts and lives, and find what we are; how want
ing in our duty, and how contrary to that holy rule which thou dost prescribe to us, by which to keep our hearts and to order our conversation; we cannot come into thy presence, O Lord, without confusion of face, and anguish of soul, and remorse of conscience, to think how foolishly and wickedly we have done; and how abject and wretched we have made ourselves.
We have not glorified thee, O Lord, in bearing fruits of holiness answerable to thy revealed will, and to thy love; but we desire to give glory to God, in confessing our sins, and humbling our souls, and acknowledging our desert of all thy judgments; and admiring and magnifying the riches of that grace and mercy, which has spared us so long a time, and showed us such marvellous kindness still, notwithstanding all the high provocations of our sins. With thee, our God, there is mercy, that thou mayest be feared; that our sins, though great and manifold, may be pardoned; and that our souls may be recovered and healed, and eternally saved: O help us so to judge ourselves, that we may not be judged of the Lord, to be condemned with the world; and so to lay our sins to heart, that thou mayest never lay them to our charge, but upon the account of thy Son our Saviour; whom thou hast given to be the propitiation for our sins; and in whom thou art a God gracious and merciful to poor sinners; that deserve nothing at all from thee, but to be forsaken and abhorred by thee. For his sake, O God! give us repentance and pardon for all that is past, wherein we have offended thee; whether they be our sins of omission or commission; sins of weakness or wilfulness; failings or presumptions; the sins of ignorance, or such as we have committed against light and knowledge; O gracious Lord, humble us duly under the sense of them, and absolve us thoroughly from the guilt of them. O set our sins in order before us, and make us to know our transgressions, and the evil of our own hearts; and every one of us so to search and try our ways, that we may turn to the Lord, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance; and not only loathe ourselves in our own sight, for the evils whereof we have been guilty; but also loathe, as much as ever we have loved, the things which displease thy holy will, and dishonour thy blessed name. O that we may forsake our sins, not only in the outward commission, but in the inward affection; not reserving to ourselves any sin or lust to be spared, nor any way of wickedness, wherein we would be allowed; but keeping at that distance which thy holy word teaches us to keep, from every evil and accursed thing, that is abomination in thy sight, and destructive to our souls; and cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, endeavouring to perfect holiness in the fear of God.
O pour out a spirit of serious repentance and reformation upon the whole nation; to heal the distempers of our souls, to curb the disorders of our lives, and to recover the decayed power of godliness in the land; and so prepare and dispose us not only for thy temporal mercies but for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. Help us so to turn from the evil of our ways, that thou mayest turn from the fierceness of thy wrath, and cause thy anger towards us to cease. O that we may fear the rod, and who has appointed it! And so prepare to meet thee, our God, in the way of thy judgments, that the God of peace may think thoughts of peace to us, and not of evil; and to give us an unexpected end, and the desired issue, of all our fears and dangers.
Thou canst show us great and mighty things, which we know not, and exceed all our expectations, as well as our deservings, by thy bountiful favours: and though thou mightest make us know the worth of slighted mercies by their want, and deprive us of all the good, which we have so little improved, and so greatly abused; yet O how many promises of thy word, and what frequent experience, which we have had of thy mercy, in time of our need, do encourage us still with hope to look unto thee, our God, and to wait for the salvation of the Lord! O how long, in all our provocations, hast thou spared us! And how often, in our distresses, sent wonderful redemption to us! And to thee, who hast helped and delivered, in time past, do we look still for help and deliverance. O our God, be thou pleased to help and deliver us, for the glory of that mercy which first made us thy people, and still has owned us for thy peculiar care. O do not abhor us, nor forsake us for thy name's sake; but be jealous for thy land, and pity thy people. Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.
Either in mercy turn away the evils from us; or prepare us for them, and support us under them, and bring us happily out of them; that we may not sink and perish in them, but find spiritual good, by temporal evils; and find the light momentary afflictions to work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; and all things concurring to promote our grace and our peace with God, through Jesus Christ. And though thou shouldst feed us with bread of adversity, and water of affliction, yet let not our teachers be removed; nor bring us under a famine of the word of the Lord; nor give us over to the formality of a lifeless profession; under all the means of grace, to send leanness into our soul. Though thou permit the floods and storms to arise and increase, yet fortify us so by thy grace, that we may not be moved by any of those afflictions, so as to turn the blessed advantage of suffering for thee into an occasion of falling from thee.
O help us, Lord, to rid our hands and our hearts of all the accursed things that provoke thy wrath and indignation against us. And let us wisely consider of thy doings, and know the time of our visitation, and hearken to the calls, and take the warnings, and improve the means and mercies vouchsafed to us, while we have them; and follow the conduct of thy good providence, and comply with all thy gracious methods used, to reclaim us from our sins, and to reform our lives, and save our souls; that all may not be in vain to us, but at least effect the purpose of thy saving mercy upon us; to deliver us from the evils to come, and to set us safe into the hands of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.
FAST DAY.—EVENING. Jay.
O God, thou hast established thy throne in the heavens, and thy kingdom ruleth over all. We prostrate ourselves before thee, deeply impressed with a sense of the vastness of thy agency and dominion. Thou
changest the times and the seasons; thou removest kings, and settest up kings. Empires rise and fall, and fade and flourish, at thy bidding: and all nations are in thy hand, but as clay in the hand of the potter.
But none of thy dispensations are arbitrary. Whatever thou doest, is done, because, O Father, it seemeth good in thy sight; and thy judgment is always according to truth. Thou art holy in all thy ways, and righteous in all thy works—and thou art good; even in wrath thou rememberest mercy, and dost not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.
Therefore it is, that we have been this day humbling ourselves in thy presence.
For we acknowledge that we have been deeply guilty. Thou hast nourished and brought up children, but we have rebelled against thee. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but we have not known, we have not considered. Thou hast given us our corn; and wine, and oil, and multiplied our silver and gold; and we have prepared them for Baal. Because of swearing, the land has mourned. Pride has compassed us about as a chain. Discontent has rebelled against thine appointments. How has the love of money, which is the root of all evil, abounded among us. How have thy Sabbaths been profaned, and thy ordinances disregarded. How has the gospel been undervalued, neglected, despised.
And all our transgressions have been more aggravated than those of any other people, because thou hast favoured us unspeakably more than all the families of the earth.
Therefore thou couldest easily and justly have destroyed us; but thou hast not stirred up all thy wrath. In all that has come upon us, for our evil deeds, thou hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve. Yet thou hast testified thy displeasure, and visited us with thy judgments; so that when we looked for light and peace, we have seen darkness and trouble.
O, let us not be inattentive to the design of thy dealings, or insensible under thy rebukes. O, let it not be said of us as it was of the Jews, the harp, and the viol, and the labret, and pipe, and wine are in their feasts, but they regard not the word of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hand. Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction; they have made their faces harder than the rock; they have refused to return.
In the way of thy judgments, O Lord, may we wait for thee. Thou hast said, Is any afflicted? let him pray. Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. Fulfil the word unto thy servants, upon which thou hast caused us to hope. And O, let not the calamity be removed only, but above all, sanctified; let it appear that we have heard the rod, and him that appointeth it: and be able to say, It is good for us that we have been afflicted.
For which purpose, bless, we beseech thee, the word of thy grace, which has been spoken; and grant that the professed humiliation of the day may be real—for thou lookest to the heart. And let it also be uersal; may it extend from the highest to the lowest; may it pervade every part of our country; may it enter every church, and every family—let none of us lose sight of ourselves in the public calamity. May each individual retire and ask, What have I done, and what wilt thou have me to do? And though other lords have had dominion over us, henceforth, by thee only, may we make mention of thy name.
Regard the government under which we live, and the magistracy of the land—may all be wise in counsel, exemplary in conduct, and faithful to their trust.
And thus may we be reformed, and not destroyed. Thus may we be a holy, that we may be a happy people, whose God is the Lord. Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. O, satisfy us early with thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 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; and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it.
And to flie Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be rendered the kingdom, power, and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
IN TIME OF PESTILENCE. Jenks.
O Lord God, the giver of our health, it is only of thy mercy that we have so much health continued, after the manner in which we have lived. And O how just were it with thee, utterly to take away that health from us which we have so greatly abused to a forgetfulness of thee, and wantonness against thee' How justly mightest thou smite us with the most sharp and noisome diseases, which our nature most abhorreth: to hurry us out of the land of the living, and put a sorrowful end to our wretched days! Our flesh trembles for fear of thee, and we are afraid of thy judgments, lest thou shouldst strike into us the arrows of the Almighty, for the poison thereof to drink up our spirits: lest thou shouldst give unto death a command to come in at our doors and sweep us away with the besom of destruction. But O thou Hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble; regard not our ill deserts; but remember thy own tender mercies, and gracious promises; and take pity on us, and turn away this plague from us. Put a stop to the raging pestilence, and say to the destroying angel, it is enough. That so we may not be afraid of the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flies by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon day: but with calmness in our minds, and gladness in our hearts, may serve thee faithfully and cheerfully all our days: and devote our spared lives, which we have begged at thy hands, and our health and every mercy, to thy honour and glory; through the strength and the righteousness of thy dear Son, our most compassionate and prevailing Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.
FOR RAIN. Jenks.
We confess, O Lord, that we have so greatly abused the comforts of thy good creatures, that thou mightest justly withdraw them from us, and make the heavens over us as brass, and the rain of our land dust, and the land itself to mourn, and all that grows upon it to wither. But O thou Father of mercies, who in judgment rememberest mercy, consult not now our merits, but thy own mercies, how to use us. Thou that hast the bottles and treasures of heaven at thy command, be pleased now to open the windows of heaven, and cause the rain to come down in its season; making grass to grow for the cattle, and herbs and fruits of the earth for the service of men. And however thou art pleased to deal with us, O suppress all our repinings at any of thy dealings: and let them all amend and better us: and make us a people prepared to receive the mercies which we want, and wait and beg for, at thy gracious hands, upon the account of Jesus Christ. Amen.
FOR FAIR WEATHER. Jmks.
Lord, if thou shouldst turn a fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein: yet righteous wert thou, and just would be thy judgments; and we must not open our mouths to reply against God; but bear the indignation of the Lord which our sins have so much deserved; when our iniquities have turned away the blessings, and withholden the good things from us. But, O Father of mercies, spare us, and forgive us, for thy own mercy's sake; and put a stop to the calamity that threatens destruction to the works of thy hands; that the rain which is thy blessing may not be turned into a curse; nor descend from heaven to corrupt and spoil the fruits of the earth. O cause the overflowing showers to cease, which damp the joy of the harvest, and endanger the blasting of our blessings. And as thou hast given us plenty, and caused our land to yield its increase, so give us, we pray thee, a seasonable time to gather in the fruits which thy bounty has provided for us; that in the use of them we may joyfully and cheerfully serve thee; and not consume them upon our lusts, but live to thy glory, as we do upon thy bounty. And when thy judgments are in the land, O that we, who inhabit it, may learn righteousness! nor let our anxieties be so great for our bodies as for our souls; that however we fare here, it may go well with us forever. O let us not labour for the meat that perisheth as for that which endures to everlasting life; which everlasting provision for our unchangeable condition, above all we beg at thy hands, O Lord God our heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ our only Saviour. Amen.
UNDER FAMILY AFFLICTION. CotteriU.
MORNING OR EVENING.
Almighty God, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, our only help in time of need, we flee unto thee for succour in this season of tribulation and distress. Out of the deeps we call unto thee, O Lord. Lord hear our voice. O let thine ears consider well the voice of our complaint.
We acknowledge, O God, that for our iniquities we are visited, and for our sins are we troubled. We are born to trouble as the sparks fly upward, because we have been transgressors from the womb. And if thou shouldst be extreme to mark what we have done amiss, our present sorrows would only be the beginning of sorrows which should know no end. Wherefore should a living man complain? a man for the punishment of his sins?
But thou art gracious and merciful; full of compassion and of great goodness. Thou hast not dealt with us according to our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. Blessed be thy name, that thou not only hast opened unto us a way of escape from the wrath to come, but hast mercifully ordained the sufferings of the present life to work together for good to them that love thee.
Thy wise providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth. Not a sparrow falleth to the ground without thy knowledge and appointment; and the very hairs of our head are all numbered. Thou assurest us, that thou dost not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men, but for their profit, that they may be partakers of thy holiness. Whom thou lovest, thou chastenest; and scourgest every son whom thou receivest.
Thou afflictest us to humble us, and to prove us, and to know what is in our hearts; and whether we will love thee, and keep thy commandments, or no.
Give us grace therefore to consider, in this day of our adversity, wherefore thou contendest with us, and art wroth. Let us not despise thy chastening, nor faint when we are rebuked of thee; nor be weary of thy correction. But let us be still, and know that thou art God. In patience enable us to possess our souls. Grant that our tribulation may work patience; and patience experience; and experience hope; and our hope, let it not make ashamed; but let thy love be shed abroad in our hearts, through the Holy Ghost given unto us. Let us not cast away our confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. Though troubled on every side, let us not be distressed; though perplexed, let us not be in despair; though cast down, let us not be destroyed. And be pleased to cause our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, to work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen, are temporal; but the things which are not seen, are eternal. Though no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; yet afterwards let it yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto us who are now exercised thereby. Grant that we may find it good to be afflicted, and see that thou, of very faithfulness, hast caused us to be in trouble. And whenever it may please thee to deliver us out of the miseries of this sinful world, of thy gracious goodness receive us into that blessed kingdom, where thou shalt wipe away all tears from our eyes; where there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.
We beseech thee, also, O Lord, to have compassion on our brethren and companions in tribulation.
Have mercy upon all sick persons; and make all their bed in their sickness. Eternal God, be thou their refuge, and place underneath them thy everlasting arms. Look graciously upon them, O Lord; and the more the outward man decayeth, strengthen them, we beseech thee, so much the more continually, by thy grace and Holy Spirit, in the inward man. Give them unfeigned repentance for all the sins of their past lives, and steadfast faith in thy Son Jesus; that their sins may be done away by thy mercy, and their pardon sealed in heaven, before they go hence, and are no more seen.
We commend into thy hands, as into the hands of a faithful Creator and most merciful Saviour, the souls of those who are departing this life; most humbly beseeching thee, that they may be precious in thy sight. Wash them, we pray thee, in the blood of that spotless Lamb which was slain to take away the sins of the world; that whatsoever defilements they may have contracted in the midst of this miserable and wicked world, through the lusts of the flesh or the wiles of Satan, being purged and done away, they may be presented pure and without spot before thee.
Be gracious also unto thy people who are weeping, and refuse to be comforted for the loss of beloved friends and relations, departed this life in thy faith and fear. Let them not be sorry, as men without hope, for those that sleep in thee: but comfort them with the joyful expectation, that they shall see each other again at the resurrection in the last day.
May it please thee, likewise, to defend and provide for the fatherless children and widows, and all that are desolate and oppressed.
And, since many are the afflictions of the righteous, Lord, remember them and all their troubles. Regard those who are in heaviness through manifold temptations. Graciously hear us, that those evils which the craft and subtilty of the devil or man worketh against them be brought to nought, and by the providence of thy goodness they may be dispersed; that they, thy servants, being hurt by no persecutions, may evermore give thanks unto thee, and glorify thy name.
Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are any ways afflicted or distressed in mind, body, or estate. That it may please thee to comfort and relieve them, according to their several necessities; giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions.
[Hear us, especially, in behalf of thy servant, for whom we desire especially to pray. We look up unto thee, O thou compassionate Saviour, who wast thyself a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. O thou, who didst weep at the tomb of Lazarus, and art still touched with the feeling of our infirmities, pitifully behold the sorrows of our hearts, and graciously look upon our afflictions. O thou, who, of old, didst cure all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people, be gracious unto us. Let not this sickness be unto death; but for the glory of thy name. Speak the word only, and thy servant shall be healed. Have mercy upon him, O Lord, have mercy upon him; and not on him only, but on us also, lest we should have sorrow upon sorrow. If it be possible, let this cup pass away from us, without our drinking all its bitterness; but, if not, thy will be done. Only be pleased to sanctify this thy fatherly correction to him, that the sense of his weakness may add strength to his faith, and efficacy to his repentance: that, if it should be thy good pleasure to restore him to his former health, he may lead the residue of his life in thy fear and to thy glory; or else give him grace so to take thy visitation, that after this painful life is ended, he may dwell with thee in life everlasting.3
And this we beg for Jesus Christ's sake.
Our Father, &c.
FOR A SICK CHILD. Jenks.
O God of the spirits of all flesh, the only giver and preserver of life in every living soul; the smallest, as well as the greatest, are thy work and thy care; and neither without the compass of thy providence, nor below the notice and regard of our heavenly Father, who though so great above all, yet despiseth not any! O Lord, let thy thoughts be full of pity and tender mercy to this poor sick child, for whose afflictions we are now concerned; and send him that relief and comfort from above, which none of us are able to give. Either
lighten the load, or increase the strength to bear it; and deal gently and graciously with Aim, O Lord, beyond what we are worthy to ask at thy hands, even for thy own goodness and mercy's sake. Spare him, O Father of mercies, and grant him ease and release from his trouble; yea, make haste to deliver him, we beseech thee; and in submission to thy will we beg the recovery of his health, and the continuance of his life, to be spent in thy fear, and to thy praise, that he may continue to do thee service, and bring thee glory in his days upon earth. But, forasmuch as children themselves, who are shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin, are therefore subject to death, if thou art pleased, Lord, to take him away so early, O let it be in mercy, and prepare him then so for thyself, that it may be to him the gveatest gain to die; that he may not only be delivered from the miseries and dangers of this world, and that to come, but may be made ripe and ready for heaven and eternal glory, through the infinite satisfaction and merits of thy beloved Son, our compassionate Saviour, who so kindly embraced and blessed young children, and ever lives at thy right hand to intercede for young and old; the only prevailing advocate for us all. And to thy mercy in him, O most gracious God, we commend this afflicted child, beseeching thee to deal well by him, and be good and kind to him; and out of the riches of thy grace, provide and do abundantly, as thou knowest best for him, in life and death, and for evermore. Amen.
UNDER DANGEROUS SICKNESS. Jenks.
O Lord God Almighty, in whom we all ever live, and move and are; we acknowledge it to be of thy mercies we are not consumed, because thy compassions fail not. If thou hadst, long before this time, cut us off in our sins, and shut us up under final despair of thy mercy, yet righteous hadst thou been, O Lord; and justly mightest thou now refuse to hear us calling upon thee in our prayers as we so often have refused to hear thee calling upon us by the motions of thy Holy Spirit. But thou art God, and not man; and thy thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor thy ways as our ways; but as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are thy thoughts and thy ways above ours. Thou art our refuge and strength, a present help in time of trouble.
And now we come to thee, O Lord our God, in behalf of this thy servant, that lies here in a low and distressed state, under thy chastening hand. Look down we beseech thee, mercifully upon him; and be thou gracious and favourable to him, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies in Christ Jesus. If thou but speak the word, he will be healed.—And in submission to thy most wise and good disposal of all things, we would beg this mercy at thy hands, that thou wouldst be pleased to rebuke his distemper, to remove thy stroke, and cause the bitter cup which thou hast given him to pass away from him, and make him a way to escape out of the affliction that is upon him; and lo this end, that thou wouldst direct to the means proper for his help, and command a blessing upon them to promote his recovery. Spare him, good Lord, and restore him, if it be thy will, that he may have a long time to work out his salvation, and be more useful in his place, and do more good in his generation; or however thou shalt be pleased to deal with him as to the concerns of his body, which we pray may be in a way of gentleness and tender mercy; yet Lord, let his soul be ever precious in thy sight; and may this sickness be for the health of that immortal better part, to promote his salvation everlasting.
O give him a right discerning of the things belonging to his peace, before they be hid from his eyes; show him what he is to do; enable him for the doing of it, that he may have the sound peace with God, through Jesus Christ; give him the true repentance towards God, and the right faith in the only Saviour of the world; wash and cleanse his soul with the blood of thy Son, and the graces of thy Spirit, that it may be delivered from all defilements it has contracted in this present e*il world, and be found safe and happy in the hour of death, and in the great day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Fit him, O Lord, for living or dying, whatever in thy wise and righteous providence thou hast designed for him, that it may be unto him Christ to live, and gain to die, that in all he may find cause to glorify thy name, still experiencing thy gracious goodness to him in the Son of thy love: if thou shalt please yet to release him from his bed of languishing, to live longer upon earth, O that he may live to thee in thy fear, and to thy praise, and do thee better service, and bring thee greater glory; or, if thou hast determined that this sickness shall be a sickness unto death, and this visitation his last visitation, prepare him, O merciful God, by thy grace, for thy blessed self; and grant him a safe and comfortable passage out of this wretched life, to an infinitely better, through the merits and mediation of thy beloved Son, our only Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
FOR ONE DYING. Junks.
O The Hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof in time of trouble! when all other hope and help fail, it is not in vain to seek unto thee for succour, who canst bring back from the mouth of the grave, and where thou art not pleased any further to prolong the temporal life, yet canst deliver from eternal death, and bring safe to the blessed life everlasting. We beg the recovery of thy servant, O Lord, now that he seems to us going the way of all flesh, aud launching forth into his everlasting condition.
O Lord our God, leave him not, nor forsake /mot, but support and assist him now in his sorest extremities, in his last agonies, when he is to conflict with the king of terrors; let him find the most sweet and seasonable aids from the Almighty God of Am salvation, and take him not out of this life till thou hast fitted him for a better. O thou ever living God, stand by him in the dying hour, and secure him in thy hands from the enemies of his soul, and finish all that is wanting of the work of thy grace upon his heart. Freely and fully pardon and deliver him from all his sins, and fit him to appear with comfort and rejoicing in thy blessed presence. O make his departure easy, and full of peace and hope; carry him safe through the dark passage, upon which he is entering, and let him find it the gate of glory, and a door opened into the everlasting kingdom and joy of his Lord. Into thy hands we commend his spirit. O thou Father of mercies, be merciful to him, and receive hia departing soul; and when he is numbered among the dead, let him also be numbered among the redeemed and blessed of the Lord, for his sake who himself died for sinners, and rose again, and lives, and is alive for ever more, and has the keys of death and hell. To thy mercy, in that blest Saviour of the world, O most merciful Father, we now humbly commend him; beseeching thee to be all in all to him, and infinitely better than we are worthy or able to ask for him; and let him be thine in life and death, and for ever more, through the all-sufficient mediation of thy dear Son, our prevailing Advocate and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE EVENING AFTER A FUNERAL. Jay.
O Thou Father of mercies, and God of all comfort. Thou hast often invited us to thyself, by kindness; and it manifests our depravity, that we think of thee so little in the hour of ease and prosperity. But we are now before thee in affliction and distress. Yet we rejoice to know, that thou art a very present, and an all-sufficient help in trouble.
Thou takest away, and who can hinder thee, or say unto thee, What doest thou? Thou hast a right to do what thou wilt with thine own. Thou art a Sovereign, and the reasons of thy conduct are often far above, out of our sight; but thy work is perfect, thy ways are judgment. All thy dispensations are wise, and righteous, and kind—kind, even when they seem to be severe.
May we hear thy voice in thy rod, as well as in thy word: and gathering from the corrections with which we are exercised, the peaceable fruit of righteousness, be able to acknowledge, with all our suffering brethren before us, It is good*for me that I have been afflicted.
It is not the Scripture only, that reminds us of our living in a dying world, but all observation and experience. Man is continually going to his long home, and the mourners daily go about the streets. And we are all accomplishing as an hireling, our day, and in a little time our neighbours, friends, and relations, will seek us—and we shall not be. Our days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope. Thou hast made our days as an hand's breadth, and our age is as nothing before thee: verily, every man at his best state is altogether vanity. For our days are not only few, but full of evil. Anxieties perplex us; dangers alarm us; infirmities oppress us; disappointments afflict us; losses impoverish us—we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled—O, shut not thy merciful ear to our prayers; but spare us, O Lord, most holy; O God, most mighty; O holy and most merciful Saviour; thou most worthy Judge Eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any bitter pains of death, to fall from thee.
We acknowledge, O God, with shame and sorrow, that the state of degradation and mortality, in which we groan, was not our original condition. Thou madest man upright; but he sought out many inventions. By one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death hath passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
And we bless thee that this is not our final state. By the discoveries of faith, we see new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. We see the spirits of just men made perfect. We see our vile bodies changed, and fashioned like the Saviour's own glorious body; and man, the sinner, raised above the angels, who never sinned.
We bless thee for this purpose of grace, formed before the world began, and accomplished in the fulness of time, by the Son of thy love, who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the gospel; and who among the ravages of the grave, says, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom—that wisdom which will lead us to prefer the soul to the body, and eternity to time; that wisdom which will lead us to secure an interest in a better world, before we are removed from this.
O, let not the trifles of time induce us to neglect the
one thing needful. While each of us is compelled to say, I know thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living, may we be enabled also to say, I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.
And, O, let not the solemnities we have this day witnessed, be ever forgotten; for often, our most serious impressions have worn off, and oup goodness has been as the morning cloud and early dew that soon passeth away.
Thou hast permitted death to invade our circle, and hast turned our dwelling into a house of mourning. May we find that it is better to be in the house of mourning, than in the house of mirth. By the sadness of the countenance may ihe heart be made better, more serious to reflect, and more softened to take impression.
With the feelings of the creature, may we blend the views and the hopes of the Christian. May we remember that thou hast bereaved us, resuming what was lent us for a season, but never ceased to be thine own. May we, therefore, be dumb, and open not our mouth, because thou hast done it; or if we speak, may it be to acknowledge and pray—I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me; let thy loving-kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.
Now 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.
MOURNING FOR THE LOSS OF RELATIVES AND
O Thou who art our great Creator, and, by thy good hand upon us, still our merciful Preserver, may we at this time approach the footstool of thy throne, with thy divine forgiveness and gracious acceptance. To whom can we go but unto thee, who art the Father of lights, and fountain of every blessing; and who hast said in thy Holy Scriptures, "Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." In this word, O God, we find it written, "It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting; for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to his heart."
By thy wise and special appointment, our deceased [brother] [sister] is cut'offfrom the land of the living; [his] [her] body returns to the earth out of which it was taken, and [his] [her] spirit hath returned to thee, who gave it. We would desire upon this, as upon every occasion, to submit ourselves to God; saying, "The will of the Lord be done." Be pleased to grant, O thou Author of every good and perfect gift! grant, that we may be enabled to say, with the same resignation as thy servant of old: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
Blessed Jesus, thou hast said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." And, O heavenly Father, help us all to extend our views forward to that day when thou shalt redeem our souls from the power of the grave; and when these bodies, which are sown in corruption, dishonour, and weakness, shall be raised in incorruption, glory, and power; and that saying be brought to pass, "Death is swallowed up in victory." In this important and interesting day, when the world shall be judged in righteousness by that Immanuel whom God the Father hath appointed, may we, and all our deceased friends, appear clothed with his righteousness, and hear him pronounce, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
Knowing these things, may we be enabled, O God, to comfort ourselves together, and edify one another, ever reckoning that " the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us;" nay, assured "that our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
Now 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.
Thou art the fountain of life; in thee we live, move, and have our being—and the prerogative of that being is, that we are able to contemplate thy perfections, and rise from thy works—to thyself.
Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, and renewest the face of the earth; and, from apparent death, all nature starts into reanimated vigour and joy. In what myriads of productions art thou displaying afresh, the wonders of thy wisdom, power, and goodness—the whole earth is full of thy riches.
While we partake of the general sympathy and delight, may we join with all thy works to praise thee. And, O thou God of all grace, bless us with the renewing of the Holy Ghost, in all the powers of our souls. May old things pass away, and all become new in Christ: may the beauty of the Lord be upon us; and the joy of the Lord be our strength.
May the young remember, that they are now in the spring of life; and that this spring, once gone, returns no more. May they, therefore, eagerly seize, and zealously improve, the short, but all important season, for the cultivation of their minds, the formation of their habits, the correction of their tempers, their preparation for future usefulness, and their gaining that good part which shall not be taken away from them.
We hail Thee in the varying aspects of the year, and bless thee for all their appropriate influences and advantages. O, let us not view them and enjoy them as men only, but as Christians also; and ever connect with them, the better blessings of thy grace.
How wise, and useful, and necessary, are these intermingled rains and sunbeams—may Jesus, as the Sun of righteousness, arise upon us, with healing under his wings; and may he come down as rain upon the mown grass, and as showers that water the earth.
When we walk by the cooling brook—may we think of that river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God.
When we retire from the scorching warmth of the day, into the inviting shade—may we be thankful for a rest at noon, a shelter from the heat, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
May thy servants behold the moral fields, that are already white unto harvest, and be all anxiety to save the multitudes, that are perishing for lack of knowledge.
The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; we therefore pray, that Thou wilt send forth labourers into thy harvest.
He that gathereth in summer, is a wise son; he that sleepeth in harvest, is a son that causeth shame. Now is our accepted time, now is our day of salvation. O, let us not waste our precious privileges, and in a dying hour exclaim—The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
How fleeting as well as varying, are the seasons of the year. How insensibly have the months of spring and summer vanished; and nature has no sooner attained its maturities, than we behold its declension and decay. The fields are now shorn of their produce; the beauties of the garden are withered; the woods are changing their verdure, and the trees shedding their foliage—we also never continue in one state. Many of our connexions and comforts have already dropped away from us; and the remaining are holden by a slender tenure; while we ourselves do all fade as a leaf, and in a little time, our places will know us no more.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the announcement of an inheritance that fadeth not away. O for a hope full of immortality; for a possession of that good part, which shall not be taken away from us.
O Thou God of nature and providence; manifold are thy works; in wisdom thou hast made them all; and all are full of thy goodness. The welfare of thy creatures requires the severity of winter as well as the pleasures of spring. We adore thy hand in all. Thou givest snow like wool: thou scatterest the hoar frost like ashes. Thou sendest abroad thine ice like morsels: who can stand before thy cold?
But we bless thee, for a house to shelter us; for raiment to cover us; for fuel to warm us; and all the accommodations, that render life even at this inclement season, not only tolerable, but full of comfort.
May we be grateful; and may we be pitiful. May we reflect on the condition of those who are the victims of every kind of privation and distress—and waste nothing; hoard nothing; but hasten to be ministers of mercy, and the disciples of Him, who went abroad doing good.
O, let the rich, now, deservedly prize their wealth, and use it as the instrument of usefulness. May they be willing to communicate, and ready to distribute; and enjoy the blessing of him that is ready to perish; and make the widow's heart to sing for joy.
FOR A DAY OF THANKSGIVING. Jay.
God, thou art very great—thou art clothed with honour and majesty; thou coverest thyself with light as with a garment; thou walkest upon the wings of the wind. When we reflect on the glory of thy majesty, we are filled with wonder at the vastness of thy condescension. For thou condescendest even to behold things that are in heaven. What, then, is man, that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
We rejoice, that we are under the governance of a Being, who is not only Almighty, but perfectly righteous, and wise, and good; that all things, in our world, are appointed and arranged by thy paternal agency;
that thy providence numbers the very hairs of our head, and that a sparrow falleth not to the ground, without our heavenly Father.
Hitherto hath the Lord helped us. We bless thee for personal mercies. If we are called, it is by thy word. If we are renewed, it is by thy Spirit. If we are justified, it is freely by thy grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. It is in thee we live, and move, and have our being. Thy goodness has been always near us, to hear our complaints, to soothe our sorrow, and to command deliverance for us. And numberless are the instances of loving kindness, that now, from ignorance, or inattention, elude our notice; the discovery of which will awaken our songs, when we mingle with those who dwell in thy house above, and are still praising thee.
We thank thee for relative benefits; for blessings on our families, blessings on our churches, and blessings on our country. We confess that we are not worthy of the least of all thy mercies, and of all the truth which thou hast showed unto thy servants. Sins of every kind and of every degree, have reigned among us; have spread through all ranks and orders; and continued, notwithstanding all warnings and corrections; and if thou hadst dealt with us, after our sins, or rewarded us according to our iniquities, we should long ago have had no name or place among the nations of the globe.
But to the Lord, our God, belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him. All thy dispensations towards us have said, with a tenderness that ought to penetrate our hearts—How shall I give thee up! Our privileges, never properly improved, and forfeited times without number, have been continued. We still behold our Sabbaths, and our ears still hear the joyful sound. Our constitution, liberties, and laws, have not been subverted, or impaired. Thou hast given us rains, and fruitful seasons; thou hast filled us with the finest of the wheat; our garners have been affording all manner of store. Thou hast spread thy wing, and sheltered us from the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and the destruction that wasteth at noonday. Civil discord has not raged in our land; our shores have not been invaded; we have not heard the confused noise of warriors, nor seen garments rolled in blood—it has not come nigh us. Our enemies have often threatened to swallow us up, but the Lord has been on our side, and they have not prevailed against us. We are this day called upon to acknowledge thy
goodness in ( ) [Here let the particular causes for
thankfulness be expressed.]
May we never convert our blessings into instruments of provocation, by making them the means of nourishing pride and presumption, wantonness and intemperance; and compel thee to complain—Do ye thus requite the Lord,0 foolish people, and unwise? Is not he thy Father, that hath bought thee? Hath he not made thee, and established thee?
For this purpose meet with us in thy house; and may the goings of our God and our King be seen in the sanctuary. Be with the preacher, and with the hearers; and let the words of his mouth, and the meditation of their hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our strength, and our Redeemer. May public instruction awaken the ardour of our feelings: May our gratitude not only be lively, but practical and permanent. And by all thy mercies, may we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto thee, which is our reasonable service.
Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion; bless the Lord, O my soul. Amen.
FOR A DAY OF THANKSGIVING. Jay.
O God, thou art good, and doest good. Thou art good to all, and thy tender mercies are over all thy works.
We have thought of thy loving kindness this day, in the midst of thy temple; and are again surrounding this domestic altar, to exclaim, O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.
We lament to think, that a world so filled with thy bounty, should be so alienated from thy service and glory. We mourn over the vileness of our ingratitude, and abhor ourselves, repenting in dust and ashes.
O thou God of all grace, make us more thankful. In order that we may be more thankful, may we be more humble; impress us with a deep sense of our unworthiness, arising from the depravity of our nature, and countless instances of unimproved advantages, omitted duties, and violated commands. May we compare our condition with our desert, and with the far less indulged circumstances of others. May we never be inattentive to any of thy interpositions on our behalf: but be wise, and observe these things, that we may understand the loving kindness of the Lord.
How many blessings, temporal and spiritual, public and private, hast thou conferred upon us. Thy mercies have been new every morning, and every moment.
Our afflictions have been few and alleviated, often short in their continuance, and always founded in a regard to our profit. Thy secret has been upon our tabernacle; and we have known thee in thy palaces for a refuge. The lines have indeed fallen to us in pleasant places, yea, we have a goodly heritage. Thou hast not dealt so with any people. It is a good land, which the Lord our God has given us—a land distinguished by knowledge; dignified as the abode of civil and religious freedom; endeared by the patriot's zeal, and the ashes of our forefathers; a land the Lord careth for, and upon which his eye has been from the beginning even to the end of the year.
Thou hast been a wall of fire round about us, by thy providential protection, and the glory in the midst of us, by the gospel of our salvation, the ordinances of religion, and the presence of thy Holy Spirit.
What shall we render unto the Lord, for all his benefits towards us? Because thou hast been our help, therefore under the shadow of thy wing may we rejoice. Because thou hast heard our voice and our supplication, therefore may we call upon thee as long as we live; and in every future difficulty and distress, make thee our refuge and our portion.
Enable us to bless thee at all times; may thy praise continually be in our mouth; and may we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives.
Being delivered from the peril and calamity of ( )
with which we have been exercised, may we serve thee without fear, in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives.
We dare not trust our own hearts. We have often resembled thy people of old, who, in the hour of deliverance and indulgence, sang thy praise, and said— All that the Lord commandeth us, will we do; but soon forgot his works and the wonders which he had showed them. Keep these things for ever in the imagination of our hearts; and not only draw us, but bind us to thyself, with the cords of love, and the bonds of a man.
And with all our calls to gratitude and joy, may we remember that we have also reason for sorrow and humiliation. O, give us that repentance which is uuto life. Reform, as well as indulge us; and pardon, as well as spare. Let not our prosperity destroy us, nor our table become a snare. Let us not by our perverse returns, provoke thee to visit us with heavier afflictions; and turn the rod into a scorpion. May our ways please the Lord, that we may hope for continuance of thy favour, and know that all things shall work together for our good.
Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion. Build thou the walls of Jerusalem. And as the churches have rest, may they walk in the fear of the Lord, and in the comforts of the Holy Ghost, and be multiplied.
Preside over our national councils; impart wisdom to those who conduct our public affairs; and may all the various classes in the community, pursue that righteousness which exalteth a nation, and forsake that sin which is a reproach to any people.
Regard the services in which we have been engaged with the thousands of our Israel; accept of the poor and imperfect thanksgivings we have offered; and let thy word, which has been dispensed, in aid of the devotion of the day, accomplish all the good pleasure of thy goodness—through Jesus the Lord, our righteousness and strength; and in whose words we address thee as
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth
as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
FOR RAIN AFTER A DROUGHT. Jay.
Thou hast never left thyself without witness, but hast been continually doing good, even for the unthankful and unworthy, in giving them rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, and filling their hearts with joy and gladness. We acknowledge that the heavens over us might have been brass, and the earth under us iron. We have justly deserved the calamity; and thy power, without a miracle, could have inflicted it; but though thou hast tried our patience and awakened our fears, thou hast not forgotten to be gracious. We praise thee for sending us the seasonable and plentiful rain, by which thou hast refreshed and revived the drooping fields, so that the earth promises to yield her increase.
FOR FAIR WEATHER AFTER RAIN. Jay.
O God, thou art good and doest good. Thou hast again surpassed our deserts, and been better to us than our fears. Thou hast caused the clear shining after rain; so that in the meadows the hay appeareth; and in the fields, thou art preparing of thy goodness for the poor. Thou preservest man and beast. May we feel our entire dependence upon thee; and by prayer and praise, give thee the glory that is due unto thy holy name.
FOR A GOOD HARVEST. Jay.
Again thou hast crowned the year with thy goodness. The grain might have perished in the earth, or have failed of maturity, for want of the showers, and of the sunshine; but thou hast pleased to bless the springing thereof; and we saw first the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear. We hailed the valleys standing thick with corn, and heard the little hills
rejoicing on every side. In due time the mower filled his hands, and the binder of sheaves his bosom; and the appointed weeks of harvest have been afforded us to gather in the precious produce. O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
We have again witnessed thy faithfulness and truth in the promise—while the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease—may we learn to trust thee in all thy engagements.
And make us thankful, that, as we have no famine of bread, so we have no famine of hearing the word of the Lord. With regard to the soul, as well as to the body, Thou fillest us with the finest of the wheat.
FOR THE RESTORATION OF PLENTY. Jenks. O God, the Fountain of all goodness! thou didst threaten with famine to destroy the blessings of the earth, which we have so wickedly abused; but remembering thy own tender mercies, and not our ill deserts, hast raised a new and plentiful supply for us. And now thou crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy paths drop fatness. Thou hast loaded the earth with the fruits of thy bounty, and sent abundance of all good things for the service and comfort of man. O make us more sensible of the obligation which thy love has laid upon us. And as thou fillest us with thy good things, so fill our hearts with thy love and grace, to use every gift aright to thy glory; that in the use and strength of what we are continually receiving from thee, we may devote ourselves to live unto thee, and to serve thee with gladness and rejoicing for all thy rich mercy to us in Jesus Christ.
FOR A SAFE RETURN FROM A JOURNEY. Jay.
As the Keeper of Israel, Thou hast been with us, not
only in the house, but by the way. We might have been injured by wicked and unreasonable men. We might have been left groaning under the pain of bruised or fractured limbs. Our lives might have been spilt, like water on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; and the first tidings that reached our friends, might have plunged them into anguish.
Thy mercy, too, in our absence, has been upon our tabernacle, and secured it from all evil—O that it may be a tabernacle of the righteous; and be ever filled, not only with the voice of rejoicing, but of praise.
And be with us in all the future journey of life; guide us by thy counsel, uphold us by thy power; and supply all our wants, till we come to our Father's house in peace.
FOR RECOVERY FROM SICKNESS. Jay.
All our times is in thy hand. All diseases come at thy call, and go at thy bidding. Thou redeemest our life from destruction, and crownest us with loving kindness and tender mercies. We bless thee, that thou hast heard our prayer, and commanded deliverance for our friend and thy servant, who has been under thine afflicting hand. He (or she) was brought low, but thou hast helped him: thou hast chastened him sore, but not delivered him over unto death. May he not only live, but declare the works of the Lord.
As thou hast delivered his eyes from tears, his feet from falling, and his soul from death, may he daily inquire, What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me? and resolve to offer unto thee, the sacrifices of thanksgiving and to call upon the name of the Lord.
And may we ever remember, that a recovery is only a reprieve; that the sentence which dooms us to the dust is only suspended; and, that at most, when a few years are come, we shall go the way whence we shall not return. May we therefore secure the one thing needful; and live with eternity in view.