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and open before thee; and while the thought of our hearts is but beginning to be suggested, thou understandest it afar off.
"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me: even the night shall be light about me; yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day. The darkness and the light are both alike to thee."
Before I was capable of knowing the great things designed for me, or could anticipate that beautiful world into which I was about to be ushered, thou didst foresee mine existence, and arrangedst all the parts of my wonderful lot. Blessed be thy name, that thou hast been pleased to give me so high a place among thy creatures; and that, in the time that seemed best to thy wisdom, thou didst call me to know and to serve thee. "I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My sub
stance was not hid from thee when I was made in secret. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them."
How precious also have been thy thoughts unto me, O God: how great is the sum of them. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand. Ever since I came into existence, thou hast been unto me as a shepherd; thou hast led me as by green pastures and by still waters; thou hast spread a table before me, and made my cup to run over,-goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life.
Grant, O most merciful Father, that the remembrance of all thy goodness may lead me to devote myself, with all my powers, both of body and of mind, to thy service; may it ever be my delight to do thy will; and may I be enabled to make this life, into which thou hast called me, one great sacrifice of duty and of gratitude to thee. For this, O Lord, is my reasonable service.
And grant, I humbly beseech thee, that the consciousness of thy continual presence may lead me
to watch, not only all my words and actions, but all my thoughts, with a godly jealousy, lest in any thing I should offend thy pure eye; for I know that thou, Lord, wilt at last bring all my thoughts into judgment; and that my future place in thy kingdom must depend, not merely on that part of my conduct which man may observe, but on those hidden motives and invisible intentions, which thou only canst observe and weigh.
I feel, O Lord, that I am not able thus to purify my heart; for I am compassed with temptation, and laden with infirmity, and if left to myself I must fall seventy times a-day.
But blessed be thy name, that thou hast promised, through Jesus Christ thy Son, that thou wilt give thy Holy Spirit to them that ask it. O send forth thy Spirit into my heart, that all my darkness and evil propensities may be taken away,—that my inner man may be washed and sanctified,—and that my soul may be made a temple fit for the habitation of the Holy Ghost.
Enable me to take the example of him, whom thou hast set forth as the model of all goodness, as my guide in this discipline of purity,—of him who
was meek and gentle in heart,—who did always that which is well-pleasing in thy sight,—who was holy, harmless, and undefiled,—and who associated with sinners, only that he might be the instrument of doing them good.
Deliver me, O God, from the influence of ungodly men, and let not the folly or sin that abounds in their conversation ever entice me to renounce the allegiance which I have sworn unto thee, or make me forget the high vocation wherewith I have been called.
I am but imperfectly acquainted with the many and secret sins that cleave unto me. O let not any sin have dominion over me. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
And grant, O heavenly Father, that the sins which still adhere to me may be forgiven, for thy beloved Son's sake, whom thou hast sent into the world to be the propitiation for sin, and from whose boundless mercy alone I look for the remission of all mine iniquities.
Into thy hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit
through the hours of this night. Let no evil come near my dwelling. Grant me, if it be thy will, the blessing of sound and refreshing sleep, and keep my mind from all wandering and vain thoughts.
Grant me perfect resignation to whatever thou mayest see fit to ordain for me; and may all my conduct be so ordered by thy guidance, that when the wearisome day of this mortal life is completed, I may fall asleep in the hope of a blessed resurrection, and finally awaken to everlasting life. For Christ's sake. Amen.