Imatges de pÓgina
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PRAYER

TO BE SAID BY A PERSON WHO IS IN AFFLICTION.

JER. X. 19. Truly this is a grief, and I must

bear it.

FATHER OF THE SPIRITS OF ALL FLESH, What am I that I should venture to speak unto thee, who art the Most High over all the earth,who dwellest in light on which no mortal eye can look,—and in whose sight all iniquity is an abomination ?

But, O Lord, I am poor and needy, and blessed be thy name, that thou regardest the prayer of those who are afflicted: thou art a strength to the poor,a strength to the needy in distress,—a refuge from the storm,—a shadow from the heat,--very present help in time of trouble.

Alas! O Lord, what were man in his distresses without thy help? what were he if he could not look up, when earthly comforts fail him, to thy throne

of grace,

and be assured that thou seest and regardest all the things that are on earth,--that thou wilt ever keep thine arms around those who do thy will,--and that, though sorrow may endure to them for a night, joy shall come in the morning ? Surely, O Lord, it is when we are afflicted, that thou indeed appearest to us as our Father in heaven; and when we are sorely troubled, blessed be thy name that thou hast formed the heart of man to seek, and to find rest in the consciousness of thy never failing and parental love.

Thou knowest, O God, that I am greatly afflicted,-heaviness hath taken hold on me,--my soul is bowed down to the dust, I am full of fears and of many anxious disquietudes. Thou hast wounded me in that which I most delighted in, and all the joy of my heart has ceased.

To whom, O Lord, but unto thee, can I come in this season of heaviness ? It is thy hand that has dealt me this blow,--and it is thy hand alone that can remove my suffering. Thou smitest, but not in anger,-thou chastisest, but not in hot displeasure ; for with thee, O Lord, there is none of the darkness and none of the passions that mislead

man,—but all thy counsels are wisdom and loving. kindness, and thou art merciful even to the unthankful and the unholy. I believe, O Lord, that all thy chastisements are meant for good; and that, though man cannot always understand their object, they are all wisely ordered by thy wisdom, to which the most secret thoughts and inclinations of the heart are known.

Strengthen me, O Lord, in this belief; and when darkness cometh upon me, and my heart is sorely pained, may I find rest in the assurance, that, though clouds and darkness surround thy throne, justice and judgment are ever thy dwelling-place,-mercy and truth go continually before thy face.

Help me, also, O Lord, to be patient and resigned,—not fretting myself because that which I desired has been taken from me, but humbly and meekly submitting myself to the chastisements of thy hand,-knowing that thou canst do only that which is right,—and that there are no seasons of darkness so depressing, on which, in thy good time, thou canst not make light to arise.

But, above all, O heavenly Father, grant that, if this affliction has been the consequence of any

sin or folly which I have committed, I may now humble myself in genuine penitence. Forbid that I should shut my eyes to my own misdeeds, or that I should ever be subject to that hardness of heart which is but strengthened in folly, when thou stretchest forth thy hand to smite, and which seeks relief rather in its own pride than in devout submission to thy righteous will. May affliction show me more of the frailty, and wilfulness, and evil inclinations that still adhere to me; and may it be my earnest and continued endeavour to free myself from every vice, and to become perfect in all the ornaments of the spirit.

I thank thee, O Lord, for the comfort thou hast given me in this act of prayer. O enable me to return to the business of life with the same humble and resigned frame of mind which this season of devotion has inspired. Let me not run heedlessly into the follies or vices of the world,-but, ever remembering that I have been chastened by thee, may I endeavour to keep all my thoughts and affections in that state of purity and of submission which thou requirest.

Keep me, O God, from being too much attached

to any thing in this world. May I receive both its good and its evil as from thy hand, and as parts of that varied discipline, by means of which thou seekest to prepare a people for thyself; and may it be my constant study so to rule my heart that it may be a temple for the habitation of thy Holy Spirit.

And blessed, O Lord, be thy name, that thou who woundest the heart of man hast also promised to bind it up. Thou upholdest all that fall,—thou raisest up them that are bowed down,-thou healest the broken in heart, and pourest the balm of consolation into the afflicted spirit. Enable me, O my God, to wait with patience for thy returning grace; and, in the firm belief of thine unchanging love, to adopt the devout language of thy servant, and to say, “ Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the strength of my countenance, and my God.”

Above all, grant, O Lord, that this present affliction may work out for me an exceeding weight of glory. May my soul be washed, and purified, and saved by the dispensations of thy providence,

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