Imatges de pÓgina
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darkened dwelling-place, thou invitest him to offer up his evening sacrifice, and to anticipate the station he is hereafter to hold when all earthly things shall have been succeeded by a new heaven and a new earth.

Surely, O God, the heavens declare thy glory, and the firmament showeth forth thy handy-work; day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.

Blessed be thy name, that, by means of these thy works, thou hast beautifully revealed to man thy wisdom, and power, and goodness,-instructing him, that though thou art far above his perfect comprehension, and though thou hidest thyself from his view, thou art yet a God whose tender mercies are over all thy works, and in whose loving-kindness it becomes all thy rational offspring to trust. There is no speech nor language where this voice is not heard. Their line is gone throughout all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

But blessed also be thy name, that thou hast not left man to these intimations alone. Blessed be the Lord God, who made heaven and earth, and all

things that are therein, that he has also been pleased to hold fellowship with his children of the dust,— and at sundry 'times, and in diverse manners, has revealed to man all that it was important for him to know, both respecting his own duty, and the great plans according to which Divine love and wisdom are conducting the affairs of this universe. Blessed be thy name, that this word of instruction has been put into our hands, and that we are permitted to meditate thereon day and night.

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"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple: the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes: the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb."

Thou hast also promised a great reward to them that keep thy commandments." For thou hast made peace on earth to be the portion of all those who do thy will; and thou hast opened up

the prospect of eternal life to all those who are steadfast unto the end.

But, alas! O Lord, it becomes me to acknowledge in thy presence, that I am but sinful dust and ashes,—with the first years of my existence I went astray from thy commandments; and, amidst the thousand errors and sins that have beset me, I have never done that which it was my duty to do.

But who, O God, can understand his errors? There is not a thought in my heart, nor a word in my mouth, that is not marked by imperfection,even when I would do good, evil is present with me; and the purest sacrifice which I attempt to lay upon thine altar might be consumed, wert thou to arise in justice, with the fire of thy wrath.

"Cleanse me, O God, from secret faults. Search me, and try my heart, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." And grant, O righteous Father, that, whilst thou art thus disciplining me by the events of thy providence, I may never murmur at any of thine appointments. May I regard all events as ordained by thy wisdom, and conducted by thy

power; and may it be my constant endeavour so to improve all things that befall me, that, being made more sensible of my errors, I may perfect holiness in thy fear.

And O grant, most merciful Father, that, amidst the many snares and temptations of this uncertain world, I may never be led into any presumptuous sins. If in any respect my habitual conduct is contrary to thy law, enable me to break the chain by which I am bound, and to regain the liberty of a son of God; and let me not give sleep to mine eyes, nor slumber to mine eyelids, till I have formed a covenant with thee, and have vowed obedience to all thy laws.

Guide me during every remaining step of my earthly pilgrimage; and whether my days on earth are to be many or few, may they be spent in virtue and terminated in peace.

Let thy protecting care surround me during the hours of this night. May the ministers of thy love encamp around me; and when the hours of sleep are past, may I awake in renovated strength, to run with renewed ardour in the path of thy commandments.

Hear these my humble prayers; and let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be

acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Amen.

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