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Nothing can equal the number of thy mercies, but our imperfections and sins. These O God, we would not conceal, or palliate; but confess them, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
In what a condition would our closet-reviews leave us, this evening, were it not for the assurance that there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared, and with ..bee plenteous redemption. Yet, while we hope for pardon through the blood of the cross, we pray to be clothed with humility; to be quickened in thy way; and to be more devoted to the things that belong to our everlasting peace.
How soon has the week rolled away! Its days have fled like a dream, a vapour, a shadow. So will all our days flee; so will they all appear when the end arrives. O, help us to keep that end in remembrance; and endeavour to view things now, as they will appear, from the borders of the grave. May we know how frail we are, that we may be cured of the folly of delay and indecision; and so number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
May we call the approaching sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and may we honour thee, in not doing our own ways, nor finding our own pleasures, nor speaking our own words. May the private moments of the day, be sacred; and the social—innocent and edifying. And may we keep our foot, when we go to the house of God, and offer not the sacrifice of fools. Let us not go as they go, and sit as they sit, and hear thy words, but do them not.
Preserve us from trifling with the things of the soul and eternity, or trusting in those privileges, which, unimproved,will only augment our guilt and our misery.
Thy people, the Jews, were distinguished by thy favours, above all the families of the earth; ibut wrath came upon them to the uttermost. Tat churches of Asia, provoked thee to remove the candlestick out of its place : and they were left in darkness. We have awful examples still nearer. How many, who once heard and professed the gospel, have been turned by the abuse of it, into apostates and infidels, blasphemers and persecutors; ten fold 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. 0, 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 mountain, and if we are not made joyful in thy house of prayer, 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 ot myriads, in the air, the earth, and the sea, are invisible ; 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 seasonthou openest thine Hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
But they never forfeited the care of their Creator, nor swerved from the end of 'their being; while we have revolted from thee; we 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 loving kindness, 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 concerning 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 ths 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, today, and for ever; thy hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor thine ear heavy, that 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 beneficiaries of thy providence—O, bless us with all spiritual blessings—blessings for our souls, and for eternity. Though by nature far off, may we be made nigh by the blood of Christ: no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens 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 the 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 will.
May we never be blots, or mere blanks, in life. May we never cause the ways 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 professions 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 we will do you good, for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel.
Send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead us, let them guide us to the holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Bless, this day, the dispensation of thy gospel by means of preaching. While Paul plants and Apollos waters—it is all that they can do; give Thou the increase. May thy ministers be wise to win souls, and help those much who have believed through grace.
Especially bless thy dear servant, on whose labours we are this day to attend. Let him come forth from his 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—andO, 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 them 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—the house of God, and the gate of heaven.