Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

fore say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear.

May we live out of the world, as to its spirit and maxims and manners, but never may we refuse to enter it as the sphere of action and of usefulness. At every call of duty may we be alive and awake. May we leave Thee to determine the nature of our service, without murmuring- and disputing; as we have opportunity may we do good unto all men; and especially unto those that are of the household of faith.

We are now in the wilderness, but, blessed be thy name, all is not briers and barrenness. We are not without the bread from heaven, and the streams of the rock, and the pillar, and the tabernacle, and the ark. We are sometimes discouraged because of the way, but the way, though winding and trying, is safe and short Jordan often dismays us, but the feet of our High Priest, standing himself in the waters, will open for us a passage; and beyond it there is a better, even a heavenly country. Many have reached it, and some we once called and still call our own; and we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved even as they. While we live may our lives be exemplary; and when we die, may our end be peace. May we give diligence to make our calling and election sure; that doing these things we may never fall; and so an entrance may be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our lard and Saviour—To whom be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

'

FRIDAY EVENING.

O Thou Most High, we bow before Thee. It becomes us to lie very low in thy presence. We are nothing compared with Thee as creatures. Yet we would not despise ourselves as we are the work of thy hands; or because we do not occupy the rank and possess the powers of angels. We acquiesce in thy sovereign pleasure which has placed us where we are, and made us what we are: yea we thank Thee that in this embryo stage of our endless being, we are rendered capable of so much knowledge and improvement; that we can bear thy own image, and not by subserviency onlv but by design, can be workers together with God, and advance his cause and his glory.

But so much the more deplorable is the confession we are constrained to make; the crown is fallen from our head; wo unto us, for we have sinned. We mourn over the depravity of our nature; that we are alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in us; that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; that the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is

not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

O how glorious is the grace that was mindful of us in this desperateness, and devised means for our rescue. Thou wouldst not at an infinite expense have provided salvation for us, had we not been entirely lost; and Thou wouldst not have laid help on one that is mighty, could we have been our own deliverers. We bless Thee for the designs of thy goodness, and for the accomplishment of them by the Son of thy love; that he came between and laid his hands upon Ub both; that he made peace by the blood of his cross; that he opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers; that he received gifts for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them; that in Him surely we have righteousness and strength.

May we be found in Him, that we may be freed from all condemnation, and possessing a new source of influence, may we walk not after the flesh but after the spirit And may we mind the things of the spirit; may we savour the things that be of God; may we call the Sabbath a delight; may we love the habitation of thy house; may we find thy word and eat it, and may it be to us the joy and the rejoicing of our heart

Spare around us, if it please Thee, our outward comforts, though we are unworthy of the least of them; but keep us from abusing them, from idolizing them, from being satisfied with them, without the hope of having in heaven a better and an enduring substance. May we never act, never feel as those who make flesh their arm, and the world their portion, and eartli their rest; but may we declare plainly that we are heirs of immortality, and that our utmost anxiety is to lay hold on eternal life.

Thou dost not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men, but Thou art concerned for our profit; and thy regard for our welfare often compels Thee to adopt a painful discipline. May we he concerned to gather from it the peaceable fruits of righteousness. Let tribulation work patience, and patience experience, and rxlierience hope. How many hast Thou allured and brought into the wilderness, and given them their vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope. May we be also thy witnesses, and be able to testify that it is good for us that we have been afflicted.

These returning periods remind us of the progress of our time. We lament over opportunities now alas gone, and gone for ever, in which we could have glorified our Saviour, and been blessings to those around us. How few remain; and these how short and uncertain! Enthrone and keep divinely alive in each of our souls the conviction, I must work the work of Him that sent me while it is day: the night cometh wherein no man can work.

Regard this household. Mav all the members of it be the charge of thy providence, and the subjects of thy grace; and in their several stations may each daily ask, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do! Bless all the families of Israel. Favour all the churches of tho-^ithful, however denominated among men. Rule and govern thy church universally in the right way. And let all the dispensers of thy truth, both by their preaching and living, set it forth and show it accordingly. Let the king live before Thee, and his subjects be the happy people whose God is the Lord. And from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, may thy name be great among the gentiles, and in every place incense be offered unto Thee, and a pure offering. Qur Father, &c .

SATURDAY MORNING.

O Thou whose name alone is Jehovah. From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God. One generation passeth away, and another cometh; and Thou hast appointed us bounds which we cannot pass: and every day upon which we enter, brings us nearer the end of our course. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. Verily Thou art a God that hidest thyself, yet Thou art the God of Israel, the Saviour: and by means of thy word we know that Thou art not far from any one of us, and that Thou art not only able to relieve all our wants, but willing to hear our supplications: yea, Thou hast commanded us to ask and receive, that our joy may be full.

O these wretched hearts of ours, these evil hearts of unbelief, in departing from the living God instead of trusting in Him! How fail of suspicions are we; how backward to approach Thee in full assurance of faith, though we know Thou art pacified towards us, and waiting to be gracious, and exalted to have mercy upon us. Work in us, O God, to will and to do: fulfil in us all the good pleasure of thy goodness, and the work of faith with power. May we believe the record that Thou hast given to us eternal life; and knowing that this life is in thy Son, and that he who hath the Son hath life, may we receive Him as He is presented to us in the Gospel; and having received him continue to walk in Him.

May we feel far more powerfully than we ever have felt the importance of religion; may we regard it as the one thing needful. If ever we are negligent, or if ever we trifle, may it be in the concerns of time and sense; not in those which pertain to the soul and eternity, and for which the Lord of all bled and died.

And may we feel more of the power of godliness, in subduing the corruptions of our

nature; in loosening us from the present erfl world; in supporting us under the trials of life; in enabling us to abide with God in our callings; and in exercising ourselves always to have a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man.

In all our affairs may we learn to distinguish between duty and anxiety. May we diligently and dependently use the means which Thou hast appointed; but cast all care upon Him who careth for as. May our character rather than our circumstances, chiefly engage our attention; remembering that if we seek the Lord, we shall not want any good thing; and if we love Him, all things will work together for our good.

Give us compassionate hearts that we may feel the distresses of others, and never refuse our aid when it is in the power of our hand to give. Is any afflicted? Teach him to pray; and let him find Thee a very present help in trouble. Awaken the careless and especially alarm those that are at ease in Zion. Preserve the awakened from those betrayers and murderers of souls who never cry, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Meet those who are asking the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, with the assurance, I will lead thee, I will guide thee, I will direct thee with mine eye. Say to them that are of a fearful heart. Be strong; restore them that have gone astray, and help them much who have believed through grace.

We forget not the millions of our fellowcreatures who are sitting in darkness and in the regions of the shadow of death; and to every empire, every province, every village, say, Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Raise up and send forth many more laborers; for the harvest truly is great May those who remain at home aid in this blessed cause by their property and their prayere; and in their own spheres of action, may they be careful to hold forth the word of life, not only by a verbal testimony, but by an actual exemplification.

To Thee, the God of our mercy, we afresh dedicate this morning the lives which Thou hast spared, the strength which Thou hast renewed, and the comforts which Thou hast continued. May we be in the fear of the I/jrd all the day long: and whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, may we do all to thy glory: through our adorable Redeemer. Amen.

SATURDAY EVENING.

O Thou, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, and whose service is perfect freedom, cleanse the thoughts of our heart by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, and give

ua grace whereby we may serve Thee ac ceptably with reverence and godly fear.

Thou art our hiding-place; Thou art our resting-place; Thou art our dwelling-place; the home of the soul, and our everlasting portion. By sin we revolted from Thee, and Thou couldst have justly left us to the natural and penal consequences of the fall; but in thy love and pity Thou wast pleased to devise means that thy banished should be restored to Thee. Thou hast sent thy only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him; and he has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God.

Having therefore boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him, we draw near and cry, God be merciful to us sinners. Thou hast been merciful to us in the bounties of thy Providence, and thy mercies have been new every morning; but O impress us with the conviction that the body is nothing to the soul, and that time is nothing to eternity. When a few more of these weekly periods have rolled away, our flesh will be laid beneath the cold stone or the green turf, and our spirits will be returned to God who gave them; and the solemn decision will have passed, He that is holy, let him be holy still, and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still. O bless us with the heritage of Jacob; remember us with the favour Thou bearest to thy people. Absolve us from all condemnation ; and let the spirit of life in Christ Jesus make us free from the law of sin and death. Deliver us from the power of darkness, and translate us into the kingdom of thy dear Son; that kingdom which is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost

In how many ways have we borne the image of the earthly ; O let us evermore bear the unage of the heavenly. May the humility and benevolence, the devotion and zeal, the patience and submission which adorned his lovely character, be in a measure our attainment now: and pressing after a fuller conformity to him, may we rejoice in the assur

ance that we shall be one day perfectly like him and see him as he is.

Enable us to hold communion with Thee in all the dispensations of thy providence, and display the Christian in all the varying events of life. Man is born to trouble; regard us in all our sorrows. Though our afflictions are the effects of sin, they are taken up, and employed by thy wisdom and goodness for our profit: and though no chastening seemeth for the present to be joyous but grievous, nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Be it unto us, O Lord, according to thy word. May we learn obedience by the things we suffer; and may every adversity turn to our salvation through prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ

Though ignorant of the future, and not knowing what a day might bring forth, may we be fearful of nothing, and careful for nothing. May we commit our way and our works unto Him who has been with us in six troubles; and has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake; whose grace will be sufficient for us while we live, and whose hand shall wipe away all tears from our eyes when we die.

May we feel more of the tender and benevolent agency of the gospel. May it make us long for the salvation of souls,- and rejoice in the belief that Jesus gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Already the lines have fallen to us in pleasant places. Blessed are our eyes for they see, and our ears for they hear. Yet the blessing may be converted into a curse; and Thou hast commanded us to fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into thy rest, any of us should seem to come short of it

We would now dismiss the cares of the world with the week. May we rise in the morning with refreshed bodies and renewed strength, and be in the Spirit on thine own day. And do Thou send out thy light and thy truth, that they may lead us and guide us to thy holy hill and to thy tabernacles. Our Father, &c.

[graphic]

FORMS OF PRAYER

FOR

SELECT OCCASIONS.

CHRISTMAS DAY.
MOHNINQ.

O God, Thou art worthy of universal and everlasting adoration. Thy nature is incomprehensible, thy perfections are infinite, and thy ways are past finding out Thou art the Creator and upholder of all things. All thy works praise Thee, O Lord, and thy saints bless Thee; and were we to hold our peace the stones would immediately cry out and reproach our ingratitude. All our lives have been full of thy undeserved goodness.

But we are called this morning to behold the exceeding riches of thy grace, in thy kindness towards us by Christ Jesus. Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

May we contemplate this matchless event with all those views and affections which its importance demands. May those who observe the day, observe it unto the Lord. May pur festivity be becoming the occasion, harmless and holy. Let us not disgrace the season by reviving those works of the devil which the Son of God was manifested to destroy; nor rest satisfied with the mere remembrance of his advent, as founded in truth and attended with wonders, but inquire for what end He was born, and for what cause He came into the world. And since we are informed that He came to seek and to save that which was lost; and suffered the just for the unjust, that He might bring us unto God; may we deem the report not only a faithful saying, but worthy of all acceptation; and may it be in us as a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

May none of us disregard Him, from ignorance, worldly-mindedness, presumption, selfrighteousness, or despondency. As our prophet, may we repair to his feet for instruction. May we look to his sacrifice, and find relief for our burdened consciences. May we acknowledge his authority and obey his commands. In all our approaches to Thee, may we make

mention of his righteousness only, and in his strength go forth into all the duties and trials of life.

May we never feel miserable even in a vale of tears, while we think of the Consolation of Israel; but rejoice in him with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Reflecting upon his grace in becoming poor, that we through his poverty might be rich, may all selfishness and uncharitaoieoess be extirpated from our hearts; may we love one another as he has loved us; and may we delight to go about doing good.

May no coldness, no mdifference ever approach our spirits, whenever we are engaged in serving a master who has all the claims of a benefactor; yea who died for us and rose again.

To Him may we consecrate all our faculties and possessions; and on our time and our substance, our souls and our bodies, may there be inscribed, holiness unto the Lord. May we grieve to hear his name blasphemed, and weep to see his laws transgressed.

May his cause lie near our hearts; and may we long for the time when He shall be known and adored from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same; when to Him shall every knee bow, and every tongue confess; and the glad tidings of great joy shall be to all people—Unto you is born a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.

Through his mediation we address Thee; and in his words we conclude our imperfect supplications—Our Father, &c .

CHRISTMAS DAY.

EVENING.

Thoooh Thou art exalted above all blessing and praise, yet, O God, we love to explore thy ways, to admire thy works, and to adore thy perfections. Thy understanding is infinite, thy power is almighty, thy mercy endureth for ever. Thy goodness transcends all our conceptions, as far as the heavens are higher than the earth.

We call on our souls and each other, this evening, to praise and magnify thy holy name. We bless Thee for our creation, and the degree we hold in the rank of being. We bless Thee for our preservation, and for all the supplies which have rendered life supportable; and all the indulgences which have rendered it comfortable. But above all, we thank Thee for thine unspeakable gift. For Thou hast surpassed all thy works and crowned all thy beneots by remembering us in our low estate, and laying help on one that is mighty.

And we have again heard the intelligence, that God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Convince us of our need of this dispensation of mercy and grace; and may we acquiesce in it, not with coldness of assent, but with gladness of heart May we exclaim with the angels—glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good-will towards men: and with the multitude of disciples, shout—Hoaanna, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Though the world knew him not, and his own received Him not, and He is still despised and rejected of men—may we receive Him as all our salvation and all our desire.

May we rejoice to view Him in a nature which leads Him to call us brethren; in which as our example, He can go before us in the duties of obedience and submission; in which he can sympathize with us in all our wo; and in which He has suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us unto God.

May we look to Him for all we want, and live a life of faith upon his fulness. In Him may we know that we have redemption through His blood; that we have righteousness and strength; that we have all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

May we connect with his work far us in the flesh, his work in us by the Spirit While we are reconciled by his death, may we be saved by his life: and remember that his name is Jesus, because He saves his people from their sins.

As He came not only that we might have life, but have it more abundantly, may our expectations be large and our desires importunate. May He dwell in our hearts by faith, that we being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the height and depth, and breadth and length, and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, and be filled with all the fulness of God.

Once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; and unto them that look for Him will He appear a second time without sin unto salvation. O prepare us for that solemn

day! May we believe in Him as a Saviour before we meet Him as a judge; that when the tribes of the earth shall wail because of Him, we may lift up our heads with joy, knowing that our redemption draweth nigh; and say with the church, Lo! this is our God, we have waited for Him, He will save us; this is the Lord, we have waited for Him; we will rejoice and be glad in his salvation.

Make thy ministers wise and zealous and successful in the dispensation of thy word; and let signs and wonders be done in the name of thy holy child Jesus.

Bless the king and endue him with all that grace which shall render him equal to his station, and add a lustre to his crown.

We are a sinful people; but Thou hast not dealt with us after our desert; and Thou hast not left us without witness. Thou hast in the m idst of us a people for thy name; and we pray that our beloved country may be a growing part of the empire of the Prince of Peace.

May the root of Jesse stand for an ensign to the people; to it may the Gentiles seek; and let his rest be glorious. May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, as showers that water the earth. In his days may the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. Let all nations be blessed in Him; all generations call Him blessed.

And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen.

LAST EVENING OF THE OLD YEAR.

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 flourished; 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. O let us not imagine in spite of scripture and observation, and reason and feeling, that we have many of these periods left to notice; but say with Job, When a few years are come, I shall go the way whence I shall not return. It may be only a few months—or weeks—or days— or hours—for we know not at what hour the Son of man cometh. But 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

« AnteriorContinuar »