Imatges de pÓgina



PSALM xcv. 6, 7. 0 come, let us worship and bow

down ; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his

pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

HEAVENLY FATHER, It is a good and a pleasant thing for those whom thou hast connected by the relations of life to dwell together in unity. It is also a good and a pleasant thing for members of the same family devoutly to express their dependence on thee, who art their common and bountiful Creator,—to acknowledge the many mercies which thou art daily showering on all thy children,—to ask of thee that forgiveness which we all need,—and to look forward to

gether to that eternal scene in which, when this life shall end, we hope to have our common portion.

Surely, O Lord, it is a good and a pleasant thing thus to call upon thy holy name,—and to consecrate this our earthly dwelling-place by making it a temple to thy honour.

We desire together, O thou who art our Father in heaven, to recollect at this time the many tokens of thy providential kindness, with which thou hast blessed us in the land of the living. It is to thy bounty that we are indebted for the comfortable circumstances in which we are now assembled, and for all the advantages by which our situation upon the earth is distinguished. How many are pining in want,-or oppressed with disease, or broken down by calamity,—who have not deserved these sorrows by any greater sins than those which we have committed; and how well, therefore, does it become us, when we thus meet together, to acknowledge that it is from thy hand that all our comforts have flowed, and to offer unto thee, not only the gratitude of our hearts, but the obedience of our lives, for thy great loving-kindness.

Thou hast also blessed us, O Lord, by uniting

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us together in the bonds of natural affection and of mutual love; and we have reason to acknowledge, that thou hast thus beautified and cheered for us this pilgrimage of life by some of the choicest blessings that are given to the sons of men.

But, above all, it becomes us to acknowledge, with fervent gratitude, thy great mercy in having cast our lot in a Christian land,-in having given us the words of eternal life,—and taught us to aspire after a far higher inheritance in thy heavenly kingdom.

These thy benefits towards us, O Lord, ought to have led us to dedicate every moment of our lives to thy service. But we acknowledge, with shame and confusion of face, that we have all gone astray from thy commandments,—that we have often forgotten the God that made us, and lightly esteemed the Rock of our salvation, and that, if thou shouldst call us into judgment, we could not answer for one of our innumerable transgressions. We have often failed in the duties which we owe to each other, and to those with whom we are connected in life; we have been less exemplary in our conduct, less kind in our affections, less faithful in

our engagements, than we ought to have been ; and we all feel, that if thou wert now to call us to our account, we could not plead before thee that we had in any day of our lives done that which it was our duty to do. Above all, O Lord, we 'confess with shame and regret, that we have been less attentive than we ought to have been to the influence of our example upon each other; we have sometimes been angry without a cause, and we have never exhibited before our brethren, as we ought to have done, the pure, and charitable, and heavenly spirit which as Christians it was our duty to have displayed.

Mark not against us, we beseech thee, O Lord, our manifold offences, for Christ's sake; but do thou, who hast promised pardon to the penitent, remove from us all our iniquities, and cast us not away from thy sight, though we have rebelled against thee. Blessed be thy name,' that thou hast sent even thy well-beloved Son into the world to take away our sins,—and that those who believe in him receive, when they forsake their iniquities, a peace and joy in believing, which is an earnest, even in time, of that final happiness into which they are

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