Imatges de pàgina
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ence, and furnished with their glorious inhabitants, thy perfections were from everlasting the same; and my feeble imagination falters, and is overwhelmed, when it attempts to penetrate into the depth of those unfathomed ages, which have yet been beautified by many bountiful displays of thy wisdom and love.

Thou also, O Lord, hast set a period to thy works, and the hour is approaching when all created things shall pass away; the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,—the earth also, with the works that are therein, shall be burnt up,—and many revolutions shall take place even among those higher orbs, which also are but for a season. But thou, Lord, art for ever the same, and thy years change not.

What, O Lord, is man, that thou art mindful of him ? or the son of man, that thou visitest him ? What are all the generations of men in the sight of him who liveth for ever and ever? Thou carriest them away as with a flood,—they are as a sleep, they are like the grass which groweth up in the morning ; in the morning it flourisheth and groweth up,-in the evening it is cut down and withereth.

Many generations have already passed away since that hour when the heavens and the earth arose ; they looked upon thy glorious works for a little, and are departed ; and the place that once knew them knoweth them no more for ever.

Thou hast been pleased, in thy good time, to call us also, who now people the earth, into life and happiness; and we are permitted for a season, and in this our earthly sphere, to see part of the wonderful works which thou hast made. But how shortlived is that breath of life by which we are animated! We spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten ; and if, by reason of strength, they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

But man has still a more awful thought to indulge than that of his short-lived and momentary being. For, alas, O Lord, we all like sheep have gone astray We are verily guilty before God; among all the generations of our race there has not been an individual who has done good and sinned

not.

How fearful is it for sinful dust and ashes to come

Thine anger

before him who liveth for ever and ever! Thou hast set our iniquities before thee ; our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. maketh us afraid, and we are consumed in thy hot displeasure.

Yet blessed, O Lord, be thy name, that we are not left without hope. For thou knowest our frame, -thou rememberest that we

are dust.

As the heavens are high above the earth, so far are thy thoughts above our thoughts. As far as the east is from the west, so far hast thou removed our transgressions from us. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all mine iniquities, who healeth all my diseases, who redeemeth my life from destruction, who crowneth me with loving-kindness and with tender mercy.

Blessed be thy name that, though man be far from thee, and his short and sinful day of life is but as a moment in thy sight, thou hast yet condescended to unite him to thyself by sending thine eternal Son to be bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. Herein indeed is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Blessed also be thy name, that thou hast been pleased to send thy Holy Spirit to breathe a new life into the souls which were dead in trespasses and sins; and that, by his influence, a great harvest is preparing in time for thy heavenly kingdom.

It is also, O Lord, our consolation to know that, though all the things of this earth are hastening to dissolution, and though even those greater orbs that beautify the firmament shall perish, thou wilt remain for ever the same, and of thy years there shall be no end. Thou wilt ever, therefore, preserve the souls which thou hast made; and we are enabled to look forward to all the changes of eternity with the pleasing assurance that thou wilt never leave us, if we have devoted ourselves to thy will, but that, amidst all the changes which everlasting ages may bring forth, thine everlasting arms will be round

about us.

Grant, О heavenly Father, that with such great prospects before me, I may be enabled to form a proper estimate of all earthly things. Teach me so to number my days, that I may apply my heart unto wisdom; and, ever remembering that here I have no continuing city,—that a thousand unfore

seen events may at any moment call me into thy presence,—and that, even though I should live to the utmost term of human life, it is but as a few days, enable me so to live, while I have health and strength, as I shall wish to have done when I come to die. May I now devote myself to all virtue, and to all praise, and think no labour too great, that I may lay hold on the prize of everlasting life.

Enable me to act at all times on enlarged and comprehensive views of my true interests. May I never be induced to sacrifice, to any pleasures of this life, my welfare in that life to which I am advancing ; but, looking steadfastly to that hour when I shall be called to resign my place among all temporal objects, may I act at all times under the guidance of those principles which will extend their influence into eternity.

And may the recollection of the passing nature of all earthly things keep me from being, at any time, too much depressed by the sorrows or disappointments of this fleeting scene. But, O Lord, afflict not, in thine anger, the few and evil days that are appointed for man upon the earth; but let it repent thee concerning thy servants.

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