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members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Rom. vi. 12, 13. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Rom. vi. 16. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. vi. 21–23.
of our sinfulness, and prayer for sincere contrition.
O most holy Lord God, Who beholdest all our ways, and understandest the most secret imaginations of our heart, I desire to humble myself before Thee with shame and confusion of face, in a deep sense of my great wretchedness and unworthiness by reason of the original corruption of my nature, and the manifold sins and provocations of my life.
I confess, O Lord, that I was conceived in sin, and brought forth in iniquity; and while I have forgotten Thy laws, and neglected to seek to Thee as I ought for the assistance and guidance of Thy Holy Spirit, the corruptions of my heart have increased more and more, and drawn me into the commission of many great and shameful sins, and led me to the omission of many great and important duties *.
These my transgressions, O Lord, which I now confess and bewail before Thee, and many more than I can recollect or number, have made me less than the least of Thy mercies, and utterly unworthy of Thy grace and favour. But, I beseech Thee, let the same infinite goodness, which amidst all my provocations hath spared me thus long, prevail with Thee to accept this confession and humiliation of a penitent sinner. Give me a deep sense of the evil of sin, and of my own vileness and wickedness in offending so holy and so gracious a God, against the clearest knowledge of Thy will, the checks of my own conscience, and the highest obligations both of duty and interest.
And grant, I humbly pray Thee, that the remembrance of my exceeding great folly, and perverseness, and ingratitude in my former offences, may work in me a hearty indignation against myself, and fill my soul with shame, and sorrow, and con
* Here make a particular confession of the sins, of which upon examination you find yourself to have been guilty.
fusion; that when I come to Thy holy table I may offer unto Thee the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart, which is always acceptable in Thy sight, through the merits and mediation of Thy Son Jesus Christ my only Saviour and Redeemer. Amen.
to live better for the future. With this profession of my unfeigned sorrow and repentance for my past sins, I humbly offer up to Thy Divine Majesty my most earnest desire to be delivered from them for the time to come, and my sincerest resolutions to use my utmost endeavours to reform whatever has been amiss in the temper of my mind, or the course of my life ; and especially to forsake all those sins that I know myself most apt to be betrayed into, and to labour after those virtues in which I have hitherto been most defective *.
And that I may never fall from these good purposes through the temptations of the world, or the deceitfulness of my own heart, I here solemnly pur
* Here renounce the particular sins you find yourself in greatest danger of falling into, whether by nature or custom, or the course of your business and conversation; and pray that you may be enabled to attain the contrary virtues.
pose to set Thy laws always before mine eyes, and to keep a strict watch over all my thoughts and ways; to remember my own weakness and frailty, and to pray daily for the assistance and conduct of Thy Blessed Spirit; to avoid as much as in me lies all occasions and incitements to sin, and by a religious use of Thy holy ordinances, both in public and private, to preserve and cherish the good dispositions Thou hast raised in my heart.
With these godly resolutions of a sincere and uniform obedience for the future, I desire to approach Thy holy table, in an humble assurance through faith in my crucified Saviour to receive the comfortable pledges of my pardon for all that is past. O Thou, Who art a God ready to pardon and abundant in mercy, blot out, I beseech Thee, all my known and wilful transgressions; and cleanse me also from my secret faults.
And that I may faithfully keep and perform these holy purposes and resolutions, and continue Thine obedient servant unto my life's end; vouchsafe to me in these holy mysteries such a portion of Thy good Spirit, as Thou shalt see necessary to guide me in all my ways, and preserve me against all temptations, and to keep up in me a true christian temper of soul: that so, being justified by faith, and strengthened with might by Thy Spirit in the inner man, I may be renewed after Thy likeness in righteousness and true holiness, and continually live to
Him Who died for me, Thy Son and my alone Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
3. Unfeigned love and charity towards all mankind.
BELOVED, let us love one another : for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His Only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
1 John iv, 7-11, Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savour. Eph. V. 1, 2.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Eph. iv. 31, 32.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of