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our desires, the violence of our passions, the inconstancy of our resolutions, the selfishness of our motives, or the unworthiness of our ends. Let not the time we have wasted, the talents we have misapplied, or the grace we have abused; let not our unkindness to others, or our ingratitude to thee, rise up in judgment against us. But grant unto us thy gracious pardon for the past, and bestow on us the grace of thy Holy Spirit, to renew us in body, soul, and spirit, and to enable us to amend our lives, according to thy holy word. Inspire us, O Lord, with such an affecting sense of thy love to us, as may powerfully excite, our love to thee, and produce in us greater earnestness, zeal, and diligence, in all our duty. May thy favour be the great object of our desire and pursuit; and by thy grace may we be restored to such a lively image of thyself, in all righteousness, purity, goodness, and truth, that we may have an abiding testimony of thy love. May the holy dispositions of Jesus Christ be formed within us, may walk in all humility, meekness, patience, contentedness, and self-denial, and make an entire surrender of our souls and bodies to thy holy will and pleasure. May Christ reign in our hearts, that we may no longer live to ourselves, but to Him; and that the life we live in the flesh may be by the faith of the Son of
God, who loved us, and gave himself for us. And the same mercies which we implore for ourselves, we desire also for the rest of mankind, especially for all who are called by the name of Christ. Put an end to all strife, discord, and war, and cause the Gospel of Peace to extend its influence from the rising to the setting sun. Avert from this nation the evils which we feel or fear. May our King reign in the hearts of his subjects; may they be dutifal and obedient; and may both live to thy glory. May the ministers of Christ guide their flock with true wisdom and fidelity: and may the people follow their godly counsels. May the rich have compassion on the poor; and learn to trust not in uncertain riches, but in the living God. May the poor in this world be rich in faith and a contented spirit, and heirs of thy kingdom. Give thy grace to husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants; that in their several relations, they may so behave themselves, as to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. May all who are endeared to us, by whatever ties, be dear to thee, and have their final portion with the saints, in thy glorious kingdom.
“ And now, that we are about to lay ourselves down to rest, receive us, O Lord, into thy gracious protection. Refresh us with
comfortable sleep: and when we awake in the morning, may our first thoughts be directed to thee, our merciful Preserver. Defend us from the powers of darkness, and from all ril accidents: and may our minds enjoy such delightful views of thee, and of thy glory, and be so weaned from this world, that we may be willing, at thy call, to depart hence, and to be with Christ.
Hear, O Lord, these our imperfect prayers, which we present unto thee, in the name, and through the mediation, of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."*
* See Christian Observer, Sept. 1804.
The word Religion is derived from the Latin, and strictly signifies 'to bind fast;' and it were well if those, who often pronounce the word, entered fully and feelingly into its import. Men are too apt to consider themselves in every respect as their own masters, and blindly follow the impulses of deluded fancy, or wild passion. The language of their heart is, “ Our lips are our own, who is Lord over us?”. But is it not a certain truth, that all mankind are laid under solemn obligations to honour and serve God? Reasonable and accountable creatures can never be released from this duty; for they are bound to it by ties attached to their very being, entwined with every faculty, and connected with every relation. Even the heathen have the proofs of the Creator's eternal power and godhead in the works that are made; so that, in their gross ignorance, and base idolatry, they are left
And if it be confessed, that, as reasonable and responsible creatures, we are bound to serve God, it cannot be denied that, as social creatures, our tongues and hearts ought to be united in his service. This is more than implied in that beautiful compendium of prayer, which our Lord taught his disciples. “ What a live coal,” says Dr. Hunter, “ is applied to devotion, when the solitary my Father and my God, is changed into the social our Father and our God." I shall therefore lay down the following propositions, as being sufficiently comprehensive to include some of the most interesting particulars of this momentous subject.
1. Public prayer is a branch of religion admirably calculated to check the aboundings of vice, and promote the welfare of nations.
As the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and a fountain of life to individuals; so it is the chief cause and purest spring of national prosperity. Those who themselves neglect public worship, and labour to draw others from it, by that kind of contemptuous language which impairs the reverence due to the Supreme Being, are doing all they can to undermine the foundation of mutual confidence, and cut asunder the very ties which hold society together. “ As righteousness exalteth a nation; so sin is both a reproach and