« AnteriorContinuar »
Dr. Watts, though a firm Paedobaptist, has yet composed and inserted in his excellent book, several hymns adapted to the convictions of those who practise adult baptism by immersion only.
And the late Mr. Newton, though an Episcopalian, made no scruple when de sired to draw up a plan for a Dissenting academy.
'• Let us stand in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. Let not him that eateth, despise him that ealeth not; and let not him that eatelh not judge him that eateth, for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord: and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it" Here every thing non-essential is left, where it ought to be left, to individual conviction and candour.
Upon these principles, the Author thinks, a Dissenter without superstition may use these forms on these very days; especially as he is under no compulsion, and he has nothing to do with the day, but as a season of leisure, and as reminding him of some important truth. -'
A Christian however, if he disregards the seasons, must love the subjects connected with them; and at some time or other, he may wish more expressly to notice them: and this he can do by means of these forms, with the omission of a few words.
It is comparatively easy to be long and diffuse; but to be select and yet full, brief and yet comprehensive—this is the trial.
The Author could have composed a single prayer, far superior to any of these; but the difficulty lay in the number; and the work must be judged of as a whole.
It is hardly necessary to observe, that with a slight alteration, and the substitution of the singular number for the plural, most of these prayers will serve for the Closet as well as the Family.
FIRST.-PETITIONS FOR PARTICULAR OCCASIONS.
O Coke, let us worship and fall down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
Yes, O Lord, we are thine; and Thee we are bound to serve. We grieve to think how many of our fellow-creatures live without Thee in the world; and confess with shame, that other lords have had dominion over us: but henceforth by Thae only will we make mention of thy name. We hope Thou hast subdued the insensibility and indiflerence towards Thyself, so awfully natural to us; and awakened in us the inquiry, Where is God my maker, that giveth songs in the night? We hope we are disposed to acknowledge Thee in all our ways; but we feel our need of the exercises of devotion. We trust we hold communion with Thee every day; but we find week-days to be worldly days; and our allowed intercourse with secular concerns tends to reduce our heavenly impressions, and to make us forgetful of our work, and our rest We therefore bless Thee for the return of a day sacred to our souls and eternity;—a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord;—in which, by waiting upon Thee, our hearts are enlarged, and our strength is renewed ; so that we can mount up with wings as eagles, run and not be weary, and walk and not faint
This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it O let our minds be withdrawn from the world, as well as our bodies. Let our retirement be devout Let our meditation be sweet Let our conversation be edifying. Let our reading be pious. Let our hearing be profitable—and on Thee may we wait all the day!
Aflord us the supply of the spirit of Jesus Christ None can need thy succours more than we. Thou knowest our infirmities—Let thy strength be made perfect in our weakness. Our duties are far above our own power —Let thy grace be suflicient for us. Our
dangers are numberless, and we are utterly unable to keep ourselves from falling—Hold Thou us up, and we shall be safe. The burdens we feel would press our lives down to the ground—Lay underneath us thine everlasting arms. Fears alarm us; cares corrode us; losses impoverish us; our very aflections are the sources of our afllictions; surely man walketh in a vain show, surely we are disquieted in vain: all, all is vanity and vexation of spirit—While in the world we have tribulation, in Thee may we have peace; and in the multitude of our thoughts within us, may thy comforts delight our souls!
Yet O Lord we would remember, that gratitude becomes us much more than complaint Our afllictions have been light compared with our guilt; and few compared with the sufferings of others. They have all been attended with numberless alleviations; they have all been needful; all founded in a regard to our welfare; all designed to work together for our good. We bless Thee for what is past; and trust Thee for what is future; and cast all our care upon Thee, knowing that Thou carest for us.
Thou hast commanded us to pray for all men, that we may be bound by our very devotions, as we have opportunity, to do good unto all men, especially unto them that are of the household of faith. May we always cherish and display benevolent dispositions towards our dependents; forgiving dispositions towards our enemies; peaceable dispositions towards our neighbours; and candid dispositions towards our fellow Christians. May we be able to say with our Lord and Saviour, Whosoever shall do the will of my Father that is in heaven, the same is my brother, anil sister, and mother; and pray with Paul, Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity!
May the goings of our God and King be seen this day in every Christian sanctuary. Go with us to thy house, and give testimony to the word of thy grace. May it have free course, and be glorified in the hearts and lives of those that shall hear it May it enlighten the ignorant; awaken the careless; reclaim the wandering; establish the weak;
comfort the feeble-minded; and make ready a people prepared for the Lord!
Remember those who are this day denied our advantages. Be a little sanctuary to them in the midst of their privations; and let them know thai; Thou art not confined to temples made with hands. And O forget not those who never enjoyed our privileges; never smiled when a sabbath appeared; never heard of the name of a Saviour—and let thy way be known on earth, thy saving health among all nations! Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And load us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods! Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? May we approach Thee with the humility which is due to thy greatness, and the hope that becomes thy goodness. For though Thou art high, yet hast Thou respect unto the lowly; and though continually adored by thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, yet Thou despisest not the prayer of the destitute, but wilt hear their prayer. Our fathers cried unto Thee, and were delivered. They trusted in Thee, and were not confounded. And Thou never saidst to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain.
Behold a company of sinners at thy footstool, earnestly praying to be remembered with the favour Thou bearest unto thy people, and to be visited with thy salvation! We would not overlook the blessings of the lite that now is. If we have food, and raiment, and agreeable connexions, and ease, and health, and safe abode, we would bless Thee; for we have no claim to these bounties, and our present condition renders them valuable. But they are not our God;—
salvation; and give us as a token for good, that we may rejoice in Thee.
Yet O God, we would not rest satisfied with a conviction of our relation to Thee, while we are regardless of improving it May we walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might according to his gracious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light We can never discharge the obligations^Jiy abundant mercy has laid us under: but may we ever show that we are sensible of them"; and that our impressed hearts are asking, What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me? While we hear Thee saying, O do not that abominable thing which I hate, may we be effectually deterred from sin, and induced to watch and pray, lest we enter into temptation. May thy love be sbed abroad in our hearts, that none of thy commandments may be grievous. May thy glorv be dear to us: may we inquire after tLy will
Give what thou canst, without Thee wo are poor
—Thou art the strength of our hearts, and
And praise waiteth for Thee, O God, in Zion. We long to be able with unshaken confidence, to apply the promises of thy grace to ourselves; and to say, Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory. O say to our souls, in language our consciences can understand, I am thy
with impartiality, and conform ourselves to it with diligence. Uphold us by thy free spirit; and let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer!
Hitherto we have been compelled to eiclaim, My leanness, my leanness! We have been no better in religion than a bruised reed or smoking flax. But it is our mercy, that Thou dost not despise the day of small things; and our encouragement, that Thou givest more grace; that Thou hast promised to perfect that which concerneth us; and commanded us to ask and receive that our joy may bo full. May we therefore not only be humble, but active; may we not only shake off sloth, but despondency; may we be stron? in the Lord, and in the power of his might"; and increase with all—the increase of God, till we are filled with all—the fulness of God!
Thou knowest what is in man, and what is necessary to him. Thou art not only addressing us continually by the voice of'creafjon, and the varying events of thy providence, but Thou hast given us thy word and thine ordinances. We behold our sabbaths, ccr eyes see our teachers, and our ears hear the fcvful sound of salvation by the cross, and tie grace of our Lord Jesus. Prophets and righteous men desired to see the things tha» we see, and did not see them; and to hear the thmgs that we hear, and did not hear them. But blessed are our eyes, for they see; and our ears, for they hear. Yet we would remember, that our responsibility will be answerable to our talents; that our chief dan1 ger results from our greatest privilege*; and
that our very blessings may be converted into a curse. We would therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into thy rest, any of us should seem to come short of it
Bless this family. May those of us who are at the head of it, walk within our house with a perfect heart, and set no wicked thing before our eyes. May we have a testimony in the bosoms of those who have the best opportunities of observing us, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by thy grace, we have our conversation in the world, and more especially to themward. May we conduct ourselves towards those who serve us, as knowing that we have a master in heaven, and that there is no respect of persons with God; and may our servants, in fulfilling the duties of their station, serve the I/jrd Christ May we train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and have the inexpressible satisfaction of seeing them walk in the truth. We ask not great things tor them of a worldly nature; only give thorn health of body and soundness of mind, and food and raiment convenient and sufficient for them: but O bless them with all spiritual blessings, and number them with thy saints in glory everlasting! Pity those parents whose hearts are bleeding over children of disobedience; and hear all the pious, whose irreligious relations are forcing them often to exclaim, How shall I endure to see the destruction of my kindred!
Hast not Thou made of one blood all the nations of men that dwell upon the face of all the earth? Remember the work of thy hands. Have respect unto thy holy covenant; and let the world know, that Thou hast so loved it, as to give thy onlv begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Hear the prayers which have this day been offered for our native country, for our rightful sovereign, and for the government under which we live. It is a good land which the I/ird our God hath given us: Thou hast done threat things for us whereof we are glad: May we never grow insensible of our privileges, and provoke Thee by our sins to remove them. May they be continued to the latest posterity; and bo sanctified to us anrl to our children. As thou hast given us such a distinguished rank among the nation?, may we be for a name and a praise unto Thee in the whole earth: and as we are so largely the subjects of thy goodness, may we be the instruments too; and from us may the word of the Lord sound out into every land.
Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantjy 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. „
O Thou God of all grace; the Father of mercies; the hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in the time of trouble! Why hast Thou revealed Thyself in such lovely characters and endearing relations, but to meet our dejections, to remove our feare, and induce us to say, It is good for me to draw nigh toGod!
We come to Thee as criminals to be pardoned, as beggars to obtain relief, and as friends to enjoy communion with the God of love. We bow with submission and gratitude to the method which Thou hast appointed and made known for all intercourse between Thee and us. We approach Thee through Him in whom Thou hast proclaimed Thyself well pleased, pleading the propitiation of his blood, and making mention of his righteousness, and of his only.
But we can have access to Thee through Him only—by one Spirit—that Spirit, the residue of which is with Thee, and which has actuated the souls of thy people in all ages. O give thy Holy Spirit to them that now ask Thee! May He open the eyes of our understanding and convince us of sin. May He humble the pride of our self-righteous hearts, and expel us from every refuge of lies. May He glorify Christ in our wants, desires, dependence, and application; and take of the things of Christ and show them to us. May we be enabled to receive the Lord Jesus in all his blessings and influences; and though now we see Him not, yet believing, may we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. In all the distresses of conscience, in all the afflictions of life, and in all the dissatisfactions necessarily experienced in creature-enjoyments, may we repair weary and heavy laden, to Him who has promised to give us rest May the vanity of the world wean us from its pursuits ; and may the tribulation of the world endear the peace which no storm can either prevent or destroy!
May we arise, and depart hence; may we confess ourselves to be only strangers and pilgrims upon earth; and declare plainly— too plainly to be misunderstood, that we seek a better country even an heavenly. Prepare us for all the allotments of this short, and changing, and uncertain life. May we have a safe passage o»t of it, and a comfortable passage through it, and a useful residence in it May we continually illustrate in our character and conduct, the representations Thou hast given of thy people, as the dew of heaven, the salt of the earth, the light of the world. May we never deem it enough to be blameless and harmless; but may our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in Heaven. May we never be ashamed of Jesus, nor of his words; never be deterred