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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, and many of them much more likely to have continued than their survivors, have during the past year been carried down to their long home. But we have been preserved, and arc the 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 opportunities of doing good as well as of gainmg good are still prolonged. Yet are they all duninished by another irreparable loss; and the reduced remainder, with every trembling uncertainty attached to it, calls upon us to say with growing seriousness and zeal, I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day—the night cometh wherein no man can work.
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 not derivable from our condition 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 their results!
With regard to our severest exercises we are compelled to acknowledge, Thou hast not dealt with us after our sins, neither hast Thou rewarded us according to our iniquities. It is good for me that I have been afflicted.
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 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 unwortflj' 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 man}' 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 have need to be again taught ourselves which be the first principles of the oracles of God.
God be merciful to us sinners. Pardon our iniquity, for it is great Cleanse ns /ran 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 at unbewailed, unabhorred. With a new portion of time may we have new hearts, and become new creatures.
If this 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: ii whose words we call Thee—Our Father, tic Amen.
FIRST MORNING OF THE NEW
Of old Thou hast 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. Through all the successions of time, which with us constitute the past,^he present, and the future, I AM is thy name; and this is thy memorial in all generations. 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 are as one day; a Being, who, amidst all the revolutions of empire sod the lapse of worlds, feels no variableness nor shadow of turning. How glorious, with m
mortality 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 dissatisfactions and 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 a union with thyself, as the strength of our heart and our portion for ever, and be partakers ourselves of the immutability we adore; 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 from all things. 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 now soon we shall close our eyes on every prospect below the sun. Suffer us not to neglect the claims of eternity in the
Cursuit of the trifles of time: but knowing ow 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 though 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 with a holy avarice 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. All the wisdom and strength necessary for the performance of them must come from thyself; may we therefore live a life of selfdistrust, 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, 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, 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 m the Lord our God, and go forward. Nothing can befall us by chance. 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 our good; all thy ways are mercy and truth. May we therefore be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer arid supplication with thanksgiving, may wo 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 day 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 for ever 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. Bless all our churches and congregations. Bless all thy ministers; may thine ordmances in their hands be enlivening and refreshing, and thy word effectual to wound and to heaL May this be a year remarkable for the con
version of Bouis and the extension of the gospel . Bless all missionary societies; and let the circling months see the banners of the Redeemer carried forward, till all nations are subdued to the obedience of faith. Our Father, &c. Amen.
O Thou, King eternal, immortal, and invisible? though Thou art past tinding out unto perfection, we rejoice that, we are not called to worship an unknown God. Thou hast not left thyself without witness. We bless Thee for the revelation which Thou hast given us; and that in thy word we can view Thee as the Father of mercies and the God of all grace. All thy works and ways correspond with the names Thou hast assumed, and demand and justify our confidence in Thee. We praise Thee for the displays of thy goodness in the productions of nature and the bounties of thy providence; but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
Herein Thou hast commended thy love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
We find ourselves this morning at the foot of his cross, where angels are desiring to look into these things—And if they who need no repentance, study the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow, how much more sho'ild we, to whom they are not only true and wonderful and sublime, but all-important and infinitely interesting! Help us, 0 Lord, to turn aside and see this great sight; and not suffer a dying Saviour to address us in vain—Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold and see if ever there was sorrow like unto my sorrow.
Here rmy we seethe value of our souls in the price paid for their deliverance; and instead of neglecting thorn for the vanities of time and sense, may we regard them according to the estimation in which they were holden by Him who gave his life a ransom for many. Here may we contemplate the evil of sin, and abhor it; here look upon Him whom we have pierced, and mourn for Him. Yet remembering that He was not only slain by us, but for us, miy we rejoice in onr tears; and by believing enter into rest
With humble and holy confidence may we be enabled to say, Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with his stripes we are healed.
May we never degrade his death, by fearing that it will not be available for guilt so great and aggravated as ours, even if we de
pend upon it, and plead it before God; bat be fully persuaded that his blood cleanseth from all sin, and that by the one offering up of himself he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Yet, O God, never suffer us to sin that grace may abound. May we never crucify the Saviour afresh, and put him to an open shame. May He never be wounded in the house of his professing friends. Rather may we' live only and wholly for Him who died for us, and adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
May our old man be crucified with Him, and the body of sin be destroyed, that henceforth we may not serve sin. May we be planted together in the likeness of his death. As He suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps, may we learn of Him submission, and meekness and forgiveness of injuries: when reri/eif, nay we revile not again; when suflering may we threaten not, but commit ourseives to Him that judgeth righteously.
Like Him, in all the afflictions of life may we look to the hand that prepares and presents them, and say, The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it.'
Whatever be the cross we are required to bear, may we look before us, and see Him carrying a much heavier; carrying it for us, and carrying it without a murmur.
Convert and pardon all those who by their lives or doctrine are the enemies of the cross of Christ Have mercy upon the descendants of those who shed his blood; and let his dying prayer be answered. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
As Thou hast made his soul an oflering for sin, may he see his seed, and prolong ha days, and the pleasure of the Lord prosper in his hand. May He see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; and by his knowledge may He justify many, having borne their iniquities.
Yea, having been lifted up from the earth, may He draw all men unto Him. May all kings fall down before Him, and all nations serve Him; and in all the earth which He has purchased with his own blood, may there be one Lord, and his name one.
And when He who made himself of no reputation, but took upon Him the form of a servant, and became obedient onto death, even the death of the cross, shall come in his glory, with all the holy angels, mav we be enabled to say, Even so, come Lord Jesus; and unite with those who will be eternally employed in saying—
Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God, and to his Father, be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
O Thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, the Most High over all the earth: we desire to adore thy perfections, and to admire thy works, which are sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.
Thou art the only wise God. Thy power is almighty. Whither can we go from thy presence, or whither can we flee from thy spirit? Thou art holy in all thy ways. And such is thy purity, that even the heavens are not clean in thy sight
How shall we come hefore the Lord, or bow before the high God? We have no offering of our own to bring. No man can redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him. The blood of Dulls and of goats could not take away sin. The law itself made nothing perfect—but the bringing in of a better hope did, by the which we draw nigh to God.
Yes, blessed be thy name, Thou hast shown us what is good; and we behold the Lamb of God, who is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Here a foundation is laid for our hope, in connexion with the highest glory of all thy perfections; and we rejoice to think that while pieadingfor salvation by the blood of the cross, we ask Thee not to deny thyself, or to trample on thy holy law : for here thy law is magnified and made honourable; here all thy attributes are developed and harmonized: mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Here weary and heavy laden may we come for relief, and find rest unto our souls. May we take fresh views of this adorable sacrifice under a sense of ourconstant unworthiness and desert; and in all our approaches to Thee may we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.
May we not only rely upon his cross, but glory in it Yea may we joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement And may we be able, individually, to say, I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
We are thankful that as He atoned for our guilt, so He procured for us the grace of life, that the blessing of Abraham might come on the gentiles, and that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. May we never separate the pardon and sanctification which Thou hast jomed together. May we prove that He gave himself—not only for our sins, but that fie might deliver us from this present evil world; yea, that He might re
deem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.
And O that in every future moment of our existence, we may be constrained to live not to ourselves, but to Him that died for us and rose again. As He s0 loved us, may we also love one another; and never deem anything too great to do or to suffer, while endeavouring to seek and to save that which is lost
May the hearts which are too hard to be broken by terror, be melted by love, and gained by confidence. May none of those who are desirous of returning to Thee be discouraged by a fear of rejection, but calling to remembrance and belief the infinite proof which Thou hast already exhibited of thy benevolence, thus judge—He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things.
Smile upon our sovereign and our country. Let all the churches of the faithful be edified and multiplied. Bless all the ministers of the everlasting gospel, and may they increasingly determine to know nothing, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Increase the number of those who love his salvation; and as he gave himself a ransom for all, may it be testified in due time; that He may have the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession, and reign King of kings, and Lord of lords.
In his words we conclude our devotions: Our Father, &c. Amen.
When we consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stare which Thou hast ordained; Lord, what is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that Thou visitest him. We are not worthy of an audience at thy footstool; we are not worthy of the least of all thy mercies; our sins have even called aloud for vengeance.
But Thou hast not executed upon us the fierceness of thine anger; because Thou art good as well as great; and thy goodness constitutes thy greatness. Thou hast turned our very fall into an occasion of improving our condition, by advancing us to the possession of greater blessings than we originally enjoyed; so that we not only have life, but have it more abundantly.
For this purpose the Son of thy love was manifested; and in the fulness of time we behold Him assuming our nature, and coming into our world, not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. We rejoice to see, in his release from the prison of the grave, the evidence of the all-sufficiency and acceptation of the sacrifice He offered on the crosa O help us to consider Him as a risen Saviour; and may we feel the power of his resurrection, in establishing our faith, enlivening our hope, and securing our sanctification. May we not only believe his resurrection, but partake of it and resemble it; that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also might walk in newness of life, reckoning ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
And if risen with Christ, may we give evidence of it, and act becoming it in seeking those things that are above.
May we never leave our spiritual and everlasting condition undecided and unknown: may we never be satisfied till we are able to say, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead—to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that ladeth not away, reserved in heaven for us.
In all our difficulties and dangers, may we rejoice that He who was dead is alive again, to plead for us, to defend us, and to supply; and has the keys of hell and of death.
In all the afflictions of life, in the decay of nature, and when looking into the horrors of the grave, may we with humble and holy confidence be able to say, I know that my Redeemer liveth, and shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skm worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.
Are we called to mourn over the loss of our dear and pious connexions? Let us not sorrow as those who have no hope; but comfort one another with these words—That Jesus died and rose again, and them that sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.
We glory in the victory which our risen Saviour has obtained, not only over death and the grave, but the powers of darkness. We rejoice that He has set judgment in the earth, and that the isles are waiting for his law; that his word is translating into every language, and his servants entering every clime. We hail what be has done, as a pledge of his universal triumph. And though we yet see not all things actually put under Him, we see Him, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; and in possession of all the resources necessary to accomplish the benevolent designs of his heart: and He must reign till all his enemies are made his footstool.
Through Him, as the once-suffering but now exalted Saviour, we address Thee, as Our Father, &c. Amen.
O Thou ever blessed God, we rejoice to think Thou hast determined to get thyself honour in this apostate part of thy empire, not by the merited infliction of thy jostiee, but the displays of thy goodness. 'For thou hast said, mercy shall be built up for ever, a monument higher than the heavens, more durable than eternity, and inscribed to the praise of the glory of thy grace, wherein Thou hast made us accepted in the Beloved.
We bless Thee for the appointment and revelation of the one only Mediator between Thee and us; by whose death sinners are reconciled, and by whose life they are saved. Thou hast laid on Him the iniquity of as all. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with his stripes we are healed.
Establish in our minds a fult persuasion that He was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification; and may we above all things be concerned to know, not only that He has risen again, but that we are qu ickened together with Christ, and raised up, and made to sit with Him in the heavenly places. May we hold communion with Him as a living and reigning Saviour, able to carry on our cause, and save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.
Is He not head over all things unto his body the church? Is He not exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour? Has he not assured us that because He lives, we shall live also? May we view Him as the first-fruits of them that sleep; and believe that as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. May we view his resurrection, not only as the pledge, but the model of our own; blowing that He shall not only change our vile body, but fashion it like At* own glorious boriv, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto himself
Thou hast appointed a day in which Thou wilt judge the world in righteousness bythat man whom Thou hast ordained; and Thou hast given assurance of it unto all men, in that Thou hast raised Him from the dead. O save us from the wrath of the Lamb. May we tremble at the thought of appearing before Him, if we have neglected bis salvation, despised his precious blood, and resisted his Holy Spirit
Let not the head stone of the corner be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence; but as He is chosen of God and precious, may He be precious to us. And while He is living for us in heaven, may we be living for Him on earth. May we esteem it our highest honour to be like Him, and feel it our greatest pleasure to serve Him.