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by thy favours above all the families of the earth; but wrath came upon them to the uttermost The churches of Asia provoked Thee to remove the candlestick out of its place, and thry were left in darkness. We have awful examples still nearer. IIow many who once heard and professed the gospel, have been turned by the abuse of it into apostates and iutidels, blasphemers and persecutors—tenfold more the children of hell than before: while numbers who yet maintain the form of godliness, are too hardened to feel the power of it
While therefore we go to thy house in the multitude of thy mercies, may we in thy fear worship towards thy holy temple; for Thou art greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints. O let us not perish under means designed to save us—O let not the savour of life unto life prove to us only the savour of death unto death.
Make the place of thy feet glorious. Bring us to thy holy .mountam, and if we are not made joyful m thy house of prayer—for we would not dictate to thy goodness—convince us, alarm us, humble us, banish the spirit of the world from our hearts, and fill us with all the fulness of God.
So we thy people, and the sheep of thy pasture will give Thee thanks for ever, we will show forth thy praise throughout all generations. Amen.
O God, we desire with all reverence and humility to approach Thee, as a Being infinitely great and glorious. Thou art the perfection of all excellency, the fountain of all life, and the source of all blessedness. How immense is the family of creatures produced by thy word and depending on thy care. Millions are visible; and myriads of myriads in the air, the earth, and the sea, are mvisible: and all these have their wants and their appetites, and are capable of receiving relief and pleasure. And the eyes of all wait upon Thee, and Thou givest them their meat in due season; Thou openest thine hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
But lkey never forfeited the care of their Creator, nor swerved from the end of their being: while we have revolted from Thee; tee have joined in alliance with thy foes; and deserve as children of disobedience, that the wrath of God should come upon us. And yet such is the excellency of thy lovingkindness, O Lord, that the children of men, unworthy and guilty as they are, are allowed to come and put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
We bless Thee for the scriptures of truth which make known thy designs concernmg us, and assure us that they are thoughts of peace and not of evil. We rejoice in thy word as one that findeth great spoil. We love to peruse its doctrines, promises, and invitations; to contemplate the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh; and to dwell on the history and experience of those who have obtained mercy. For all who have ever been saved, have been saved by thy grace, and have been thy workmanship. And Thou art the same yesterday, to-day, and forever: thy hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor thine ear heavy tliat it cannot hear.
Bow down thy ear, and hearken to the voice of our supplication: employ thy hand for our deliverance and relief. We are already the creatures of thy power, O make us the subjects of thy grace. We are already the charge of thy providence, O bless us with all spiritual blessings—blessings for our souls and for eternity. Though by nature afar oE may we be made nigh by the blood of Christ: no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints and of the household of God. Bless us we pray Thee with a present salvation—that being^ justified by faith, we may have peace with God; that tie love and power of sin may be subdued in our hearts; that we may be dead to the world, alive to the glory of God, and concerned to serve our generation according to thy wuX
May we never be blots or mere blanks in life. May we never cause the way of truth to be evil spoken of: may our liberty never prove an occasion to the flesh, but by love may we serve one another. May every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. May we attend not only to what is essential in our religious character, but what is ornamental. May we pursue whatsoever things are lovely and of good report, and render our profession of the gospel not only impressive, but amiable and inviting. May we hold forth the word of life with our tempers as well as our tongues, with our lives as well as our lips, and thus be continually saying to those we meet—We are journeying towards a place of which the Lord said, I will give it you, come with us and it will do you good, for the Lord hath spoken good concernmg Israel.
Send out thy light and thy truth ; let them lead us, let them guide us to thy holy hill and to thy tabernacles. Bless this day the dispensation of thy gospel by means of preaching. While Paul plants and ApoUos waters —it is all that they can do—give Thou the increase. May thy ministers be wise to win souls; and help those much which have believed through grace.
Especially bless thy dear servant on whose labours we are this day to attend. Let him come forth from hia sacred retirement in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of peace; and may he enter the sanctuary as Aaron entered the tabernacle of the congregation when the holy oil was poured upon his head, and the fragrance filled the place—and O let him not prove the savour of death unto death to any that shall hear him. Open our ear to discipline; may we hear for ourselves, hear for our souls; so hear as that our souls may live. And may great grace rest upon all the assemblies of thy people.
Despise not the prisoners of thy providence. Follow those who are unable to follow Thee; and while forbidden to hear the preaching of the word, may they hear the voice of the rod, and have reason to say—It is good for us that we have been afflicted. Make them thankful, that to will is present with them; and that in their hearts are the ways of those who repair to Zion. Prove thyself a very present help in trouble; and render the bed of languishing, the chamber of sickness, the house of mourning—none other than the house of God, and the gate of heaven.
And by all the discipline of thy providence and the ordinances "of religion, may we be increasingly prepared for the remaining duties of life, the solemnities of a dying hour, and the services and joys that are beyond the grave.
We implore it through the intercession of Him who has encouraged us to address Thee as—Our Father, &c.
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thv Name, O Most High; to show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night
We have this evening to acknowledge the blessings, not only of another day, but of another sabbath. We bless Thee that the sabbath was made for man, and that Thou hast hallowed such a portion of our time, for purposes the most important, but which, alas! we are prone to neglect Thus thou art affording us opportunities to retire, and compare the objects which court our attention; to learn, among all the cares of life, that one thing is needful; and to hear the inquiry— What is a man profited, if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul! Thus we have moments of abstraction and leisure in which we can more fully investigate our character, examine our condition, and ask for what purpose we entered this mortal stage, and what will become of us when the scene closes.
We thank Thee that the lines are fallen to us in pleasant places, and that we have a goodly heritage; so that we can add to pri
vate meditation and devotion the public ordinances of religion, and can sit under our own vine and fig-tree, none daring to make us afraid. We bless Thee that we have not only the scriptures, but the ministry of the gospel; and have this day not only read, but heard the words of eternal lift-. We hope we have seen thy power and thy glory in the sanctuary, and have found the house of God to be the gate of heaven.
But, O God, the effects we experience while waiting upon Thee though delightful, are as often transitory, and prove like the morning cloud and early dew. Before the lapse of a single day we arc compelled to complain, My soul cleaveth unto the dust; and to pray, Quicken Thou me according to thy word. Render therefore the impressions made upon us deep and durable; keep these things for ever in the imagination of the hearts of thy people; and let thy word dwell in us richly in all wisdom.
May the instructions we receive attend us m every part of our ordinary life, and regulate and excite us in the discharge of all our relative duties, so that whether we are husbands or wives, parents or children, masters or servants, we may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. May we be satisfied with no knowledge, no belief, no professions, no feelings in religion—while our hearts are void of thy love, and we are strangers to that grace which bringeth salvation, and teacheth us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world.'
. We take shame to ourselves, not only for our open violations of thy law, but for our secret faults, our omissions of duty, our unprofitable attendances on the means of grace, our carnality in worshipping Thee, and all the sins of our holy things. Our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is gone up into the very heavens—and there He is gone also, who is our advocate with the Father and the propitiation for our sins. Behold his hands and his feet; and hear, O hear the voice of the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Pity those who have this day been deprived of the public means of grace by sickness or infirmity. I'et them know that Thou art not confined to temples made with hands; be with thein in trouble; and give them their vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope.
And remember the millions who were never favoured with the advantages we enjoy, and would be grateful for the crumbs that fall from our table. But they never smiled when a sabbath appeared: they never heard of the name of Jesus: they feel guilt, but know nothing of the blood that cleanseth from all sin: they feel depravity, but know nothing of the renewing of the Holy Ghost; they are bleeding to death of their spiritual wounds, but no one proclaims among them the balm of Gilead and the physician there! O send out thy light and thy truth. Let thy way be known on earth, thy saving health among all nations.
We now commit ourselves with all our connexions into thy hands. Guard us through the defenceless hours of sleep from every evil to which we are exposed. It; as life is always uncertain, it should please Thee to call us hence this night, may we awake in glory and be for ever with the Lord; or if Thou shouldst continue us in being, may we rise in health and comfort, to pay Thee the homage of a grateful heart in a course of cheerful
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In thy favour is life—Do Thou bless us and we shall be blessed—safe from every evil, and assured of every good.
And prepare us at length for the rest that remains for thy people; in which we shall join the general assembly and church of the first-born, in ascribing blessing and honour, and glory and power to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever. Amen.
O Thou who hast characterized thyself as the hearer of prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come: and that we may come with acceptance and success, we come in the name of the great intercessor, Jesus Christ the righteous—And Thou eternal Spirit of grace and supplication, do Thou make intercession for us, by making intercession in us according to the will of God.
All they that are far from Thee shall perish; but it is good for us to draw near to Thee. We have found the duty our delight Devotion has opened a resource, when all other comforts have failed; and in every perplexity, every alarm, every distress, a glorious high throne from the beginning has been the place of our sanctuary. We praise thy name that ordinances have not been unprofitable observances to our souls, but channels through which the Go! of all grace has replenished us, and means by which we have enjoyed fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ
Bless the services in which we were engaged on the past day. Let a savour of divine things be left on our spirits and be diflused in our conversation. And as the face of Moses when he descended from communion with Thee, shone so that the Israelites could not steadfastly behold him for the glory of his countenance, so may it be with us. Let those around us take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus; and may our profiting appear unto all men. May our light shine bo
fore men. May we be manifestly the epistles of Christ Instead of confounding our neighbours and friends to determine whether we are settlers, or strangers and pilgrim* on the earth, may we declare plainly that we seek a country. May wc put on as the elect of God, holy and beloved, Lowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffenng, forbearing one another, and forgiving one inother. May we be followers of God as dear children: may we be perfect as our Father who is in heaven is perfect
At present it is a day of small things with us. We have only light enough to see onr darkness; sensibility enough to feel the hardness of our hearts; spirituality enough to mourn our want of heavenly nlindedness. But we might have had more; we ought to have had more. We have never been straitened in Thee: Thou hast always placed before us an infinite fulness, accompanied with the command and the promise, Open thy mouth wide; I will fill it
We confess and bewail not only our deficiencies, but our backslidings also. It is not with us as it was in months past: O recall us to thyself; enable us to feel our first love, and to do our first works. Yea may we forget the things that are behind, and reach forth unto those that are before. May we not only have life, but may we have it more abundantly; and not only be fruitful, but bear much fruit
May our improvements correspond with our privileges; and our practice with our knowledge. May our wills always bow to the decisions of our judgments; may we choose what we approve; and never condemn ourselves in the things that we allow.
May we never want the threateninga of thy law, and the terrors of hell, to keep us from every evil way. May thy goodness lead us to repentance, and thy love constrain us to all holy obedience.
Let all our churches continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, and in fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer; and may the Lord add daily to their number such as shall be saved.
Let the dead hear the voice of the Son of God and live. Let those who are asking the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, find a teacher that will say to them, This is the way, walk ye in it, when they turn to the right-hand and when they turn to the left Let the rich be poor in spirit; and the poor be made rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which thou hast promised to them that love Thee. Let the ignorant be enlightened; and let those that are wise become fools that they may be wise.
We bless Thee for all thy former lovingkindnesses to this family, and pray that they may be continued to us and sanctified by us. May the outgoings of the morning and evening of another day be made to rejoice. May we continually live under the shadow of thy -wing and the influence of thy grace. And let the words of our mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer.
And unto Him that is able to do for us exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us—unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Who in the heavens can be compared unto the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord? Thy wisdom no difficulty can perplex; thy power no exertion can weaken; thy bounty no communications can exhaust or diminish. Thy goodness waits to be gracious and is exalted to have mercy.
Thou hearest prayer; and to assure our hearts before Thee, Thou hast not only commanded us to seek Thee, but thou hast furnished us with the petitions we are to offer. Thou, even Thou, hast told us to take with us words and turn to the Lord: and say— Take away all iniquity, receive us graciously, so will we render the cal ves of our lips.
We feel the truth of our character, as drawn in the scriptures; and we acknowledge our desert and our helplessness too. Thy mercy is our only refuge and resource. O be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause thy face to shine upon us that we may be saved. O visit us with that salvation which is present as well as future; which changes not only our state, but our nature; and which not only admits us into thy family, but makes us new creatures.
As Thou didst in the original creation command the light to shine out of darkness, so do Thou shine in our hearts. Give us the light of the knowledge of thy glory in the face of Jesus Christ; and may we so know Thee as to love Thee supremely, serve Thee as our only Lord, and cleave to thee as our portion for ever. Subdue the rebellion of our wills, that we may submit to thy commands, and acquiesce in thy dispensations without murmurings and disputings. Unite our hearts to fear thy name; and may we be in the fear of the .Lord all the day long. Make us Israelites indeed in whom there is no guile. Enable us to maintain a conscience void of oflence towards God and towards man. May we be the same when no eye sees us, as we are in the public walks of life. May we enter the closet as well as the temple, and attend to our principles and motives as well as our actions and pursuits.
We mourn over our numberless failures
and backslidhigs; our incorrigibleness under rebukes; our want of profiting under ordinances; the non-improvement of our talents; and our neglect of opportunities of usefulness. Whatever view we take of ourselves compels us to exclaim—Behold I am vile. Yet while we are humble may we be grateful; and never be backward to acknowledge what Thou hast done for our souls. If we are not like some of thy people, we bless thee that we are not like the rest of the world; if we are not what we ought to be, we are not what we once were. Thou hast made us to difler, and we have nothing which we did not receive from Thee.
And if our religion be imperfect, may it appear to be real and vital by its activity and its tending to growth. May it awaken in us an unconquerable desire to go from strength to strength, and to be renewed day by day.
May our religion always attend us and dignify us in the ordinary scenes of life. May we remember, that greatness consists not in doing great things, but in doing little things with a great mind.
As the events of providence occur, may they always find in us those dispositions which will keep them from injuring us, and which will convert them all into advantages.
In a vale of tears, may we look for a succession of trials; and may we also look for the accomplishment of the promise—I will be with thee in trouble.
May the joy of the L/jrd be our strength; may it keep us from lusting after the vanities of the world; bear up the heart and mind in the loss of every creature-comfort; and enliven us in the valley of the shadow of death. And before we reach heaven, may we bear the image of the heavenly, possess the earnests of our inheritance, and enjoy the firstfruits of the glorious harvest
And to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
O God, Thou art the creator, the upholder, and the proprietor of all things. Thy dominion is everlasting and universal. Thou dost according to thine own will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: none can stay thy hand, or say unto Thee, What dost Thou?
We cannot escape from thy presence or control; nor do we desire it It is our privilege that we are under the agency, not only of omnipotence, but righteousness, wisdom, patience, mercy, and grace. Thou art love. Thou hast loved us with more than parental affection. Thou hast commended thy love towards us, in that while we were
sinners Christ died for us. He that spared not his own Son but delivered Him up for us all—how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things! Here may all our fears be banished from our minds; here may we be filled with everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.
Thou hast not only allowed, but commanded us to believe on the name of thy dear Son. O let us not refuse to be comforted; let us not reject the counsel of God against ourselves; but remembering that we are as welcome as we are guilty, may we drink of the fountain of the water of life freely.
But while we know that we may come to the Redeemer and ought to come—may we never think ourselves interested in the blessings of his salvation unless we have come. May there be a real and living union between our souls and Him, that quickened together with Christ, we may be raised up, and made to sit with him in the heavenly places. May we live a life of faith in thy promises, mingled with no jealousy of thy truth nor suspicion of thy power. May we live a life of hope ; expecting that Thou wilt be our sun and our shield; that thou wilt give grace and glory; and withhold no good thing from us while we walk uprightly. And may we live a life of love; for he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. O shed abroad thy love in our hearts, the animating and delightful principle of all obedience. May we love our neighbour as ourselves; and consider every one as our neighbour, who falls within the reach of our knowledge and assistance.
We feel that the work to which we are called is far above our strength. We have tried our purposes and resolutions, and have found them vain. The least temptation has been too powerful for us, when we have gone forth in our own strength. O teach us now to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might And at every movement in our journey and our warfare, say to our heart Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
And may we never depart from Thee by making flesh our arm, or the creature our portion. With regard to the world, may our soul be even as a weaned child; but may we draw near to Thee as our exceeding joy, and contemplate with approbation, the period when we shall behold thy face in righteousness, awake up after thy likeness and be satisfied with thy favour.
All which we implore through the mediation of Him who ever liveth to make- intercession for us, and to whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be endless praises. Amen.
May we approach Thee with all the encouragement derivable from a conviction that Thou art the blessed God; happy in thyself; and the source of happiness to thy creature*. The eyes of all wait upon Thee, and Thou givest them their meat in due season; Thorn openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. Thou art our maker and benefactor. Thou hast not only produced ns, but sustained; not only supported us, but indulged: yea, Thou hast given us all thmgs richly to enjoy. Thou hast provided for the welfare of our souls as well as our bodies; Thou hast answered the awful question. How shall I come before the Lord and bow before the High God? Thou hast told us what we must do to be saved. May we follow the light of life which Thou hast given us, till it brings us to Him who appears in ererr altribute, and in every attitude of power and pity to meet all our wants and miseries. And as we draw near, may we hear his gracious voice saying, Him that cometh unto me 1 wul in no wise cast out May we commit our eternal all into his hands, and being reconciled by his death, may we be saved by his life. May we live by Him, live to Him, live like Him. While we behold Him as rich for our sakes becoming poor, and dying that we may live, may his unexampled love constrain us into all holy obedience and zeal, and render our duty our delight
May we never wait for the company of others, or feel their approbation necessarv to induce us to follow Htm who is all our sanation, and ought to be all our desire. May we go forth to Him without the camp, bearing his reproach. And if our faith is deemed folly, our hope delusion, our meekness meanness, our zeal madness; may we rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer shame for his Name, and binding it as a garland around our brow say, If this De to be vile, I will yet be more vile. Thus blessed Redeemer wast Thou treated in the days of thv flesh; thus was thy Name cast out as evil, thy actions misrepresented, and thy spirit blasphemed. O let the servants be willing to be as the master, and the disciples as the Lord.
We hope in thy word; but it is because it assures us that Thou waitest to be gracious, and dost not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax. How poor and pitiable, how maimed and dying a thing, has our religion been under every advantage to promote it Lord, hide pride from us; enable us to walk humbly with our God, and ask and receive that our joy may be full. Hast Thou not promised to supply all our need from thy riches in glory by Christ Jesus? Thou knowest all our warfare, all our work, all our trials; and Thou knowest the degree and extent of our weakness; and yet Thou hast said, My