Imatges de pÓgina

care through the night. O keep all my relations in thy love,—and bless, with all temporal and spiritual blessings, those who are near and dear to me, for Christ's sake. Amen.



PSALM Xxxviii. 18. I will declare mine iniquity;

I will be sorry for my sin.

Father of the spirits of all flesh, it becomes me, on this day of fasting and humiliation, to come to the footstool of thy throne of grace, with a truly contrite heart; for mine iniquities have gone over my head, and are become a burden too heavy for me to bear.

How great, O Lord, have been the mercies I have received at thy hand,—thou hast called me to the high honour of being a member of that great family of intelligence with which thou hast peopled the universe,—and hast given me my place among that favoured race, whom thou hast appointed to inhabit this beautiful world. I was early blessed with the advantages of a religious education,-a good

example was early set before me, I was warned of the evils that must fall on those who commit sin,and thy bountiful providence has called me, times without number, to devote myself to thy service, because thou art good, and doest good to them that love thee.

Alas, O Lord, how different might my course of life have been from what it has proved to be! Had I felt, as I ought, all the goodness thou hast bestowed on me, and listened, as I ought, to the denunciations of thy displeasure,—had I taken warning by the fate of those whose sins I have witnessed, -or followed out, with but moderate firmness, the resolutions I have often made,- from how many sins, which now bend me to the dust, might I have been free; and with how much greater peace of mind might I, on this day of humiliation, have sought for thy favour. My course might then have been like that of the shining light; and, instead of the secret fears which now darken my spirit, and the awful forebodings with which I look forward to eternity, I might have enjoyed the calm satisfaction of the man whom thou approvest, and the blessed assurance of him to whom thou wilt not impute sin.

But, O my God, it is in vain that I retrace what I might have been, while the sad reality of what I am presses on my thoughts. There is no hour of my past life to which I can look back with unmingled satisfaction,--and there are many, which I could wish for ever to be blotted out of the book of thy remembrance. For thou, Lord, knowest all things, and the whole course of my life is before thine omniscient eye.

How then, O Lord, shall sinful dust and ashes come before thee? Blessed be thy name, that this our frail human nature is not left without hope, for thou knowest our frames, thou rememberest that we are dust ; and, amidst all the iniquities of thy creatures, thou art still long-suffering and ready to forgive. Blessed be thy name, O Lord, that even in confessing our sins, we feel that there is forgiveness,—for thou breathest, with a gentle voice of comfort and of hope, on the secret hearts of those who are sincerely penitent,--and the tears that purify our hearts from the transgressions we have committed, also relieve the pressure of that heavy burden which weighs down the consciences of the disobedient. Thanks be unto thee, O Lord, for

this silent intimation of thy willingness to pardon ; and ever blessed be thy name, that, to this secret hope, thou hast added the more explicit declaration of thy holy word.

Yes, O Lord, ever blessed be thy name, that, to relieve the fears of man, thou hast spoken to him by a voice from heaven, and hast declared to him, that when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive,—that thou hast no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but rather that he would turn from his wickedness and live,

and that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance.

Blessed still further be thy name, that, to give a sensible intimation of thy readiness to pardon, and of the love which thou bearest towards our fallen race, thou hast sent even thy beloved Son into this world,—to bear our nature,—to die for our sins, and, at last, to rise again for our justification. Surely, O Lord, thy mercy is above the heavens, and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.

But, alas ! O Lord, let me not presume on thy

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