Imatges de pÓgina




Ezek. xxiv. 16. Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke.

FATHER OF THE SPIRITS OF ALL FLESH, Thou didst at first breathe into us the breath of life, and gavest us our place among thy creatures ; and, in thy good time, thou takest away our breath, and we return to the dust out of which we were formed. Behold, O Lord, our lives are in thy hand,—thou killest, and thou makest alive,--thou bringest down to the grave, and thou bringest up. Thou takest away, and who can hinder thee? or who will say unto thee, What doest thou?

Behold us, O Lord, who are now met together to humble ourselves under thine afflicting hand, and

to ask of thee that consolation and support which thou only canst give. Alas! O Lord, we are diminished before thee, and our little company is broken down ; for they who once knelt in thy presence along with us are now sleeping in the dust, and have no part in all that is done under the sun. Thou hast indeed taken away the delight of our eyes, and we are now called to finish alone that wearisome journey which is appointed to man upon the earth.

O Lord, support us in this hour of sorrowful remembrance ; for to whom can we come, in hours like this, but unto thee,-thou only hast the words of eternal life,—and thou only canst give the con-' solation which is now most needful for us. Blessed be thy name, that thou art our Father in heaven; and that when all earthly comforts fail us, we can still place all our hopes, for time and for eternity, in thy wise and gracious hand.

O teach us, who still remain together, so to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Alas! O Lord, we have been too forgetful of the short-lived tenure by which all our blessings are held; we have said in our hearts, that we

should never be moved, and have spent our days in folly, as if thou wouldst never call us into judgment. It is therefore, O Lord, that thou hast stretched out thy hand to afflict us,—and that thou hast filled this house with lamentation and with sore mourning Enable us to receive the lessons which this severe chastisement was intended to teach us; and when we see those who lately bowed down together with us taken away, may we lay to heart our latter end, and be enabled, by thy grace, to free our minds from all those vanities which hide from us the uncertainty, both of our own life, and of all the good things that are allotted to us in this world.

Enable us also, from this afflicting dispensation, to see the value of a life spent in well-doing. Alas ! O Lord, we are apt to live after the foolish thoughts of our own hearts, and to seek only to obtain the desire of our own eyes. We are apt to venture even to commit presumptuous sins, and keep far from us the thought, that for all these things thou wilt call us into judgment. O help us to remember our latter end, and to apply our hearts unto wisdom, that, when our hour of trial, and of separation also, has come, we may depart in the hope of a blessed

resurrection. Forbid, O God, that we should ever fall into any of those great sins which trouble the heart of man with dismal forebodings when he has the prospect of appearing in thy presence. Lead us not into temptation ; incline our hearts unto thy testimonies,-and may we now acquire that good name which is better than precious ointment. In all things may we be dutiful and conscientious, ever remembering how short a time we have to live, and anxious to lay up for ourselves a treasure of good hope against the evil day. May our death be that of the righteous, and may our latter end be like his.

Help us also, O God, to look beyond this life to the great events that have yet to befall our immortal spirits. May we live with a habitual view to judgment and to eternity,-looking for, and hastening unto, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile bodies, that they may be fashioned like unto his glorious body; and, having this hope in us, may we purify ourselves even as he

is pure.

Forgive, O Lord, any improper grief which we may have indulged on this occasion. In all events may we see the operation of thy providence, and

meekly and submissively resign ourselves to thy will; for thou, O Lord, dost not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men ; and though clouds and darkness often surround thy throne, we know that justice and judgment are thy dwelling-place.

Grant that when those whom we loved are taken away, we may be more closely knit in love to each other ; may we be helpers together of each other's joy,--indulgent and dutiful, and seeking, above all things, to be instruments in thy hands of promoting the eternal welfare of those who are now our fellowpilgrims in life.

And, O Lord, prepare us for that hour when we also must bid adieu to every thing on earth. En. able us now to cultivate those virtues which will shed a holy lustre around the bed of death ; and may our faith in Christ be of that genuine kind which purifies the heart, which worketh by love, and which is fruitful in all good deeds.

O comfort us with the consolations of thy good Spirit ; may our conduct through life be humble and resigned ; let not our affections be too much attached to any thing in this world, but may we use all thy gifts, as not abusing them; and when

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