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MORNING PRAYER FOR THURSDAY.
1 COR. v. 7. Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.
WHEREWITH, O Lord, shall sinful dust and ashes come before thee? For thou, Lord, art holy, and just, and pure,―thy nature is above every thing that partakes of imperfection and sin, and thou canst not look on iniquity but with abhorrence. Even the angels of light, who minister before thy throne, are chargeable with folly, and the highest seraph that obeys thy will veils his face with his wings, as unworthy to look on thine uncreated excellence. How then, O God, shall I, who am compassed with infirmity, dare to approach the footstool of thy throne? or with what offerings shall I present a sacrifice which may be well-pleasing in thy sight?
Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the cattle on a thousand hills; thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it thee; thou delightest not in burntoffering.
Yet adored be thy name that, sinful as I am, and far removed from the brightness of thy presence, I am not left without hope in presenting myself before thee. For thou, Lord, knowest our frame; thou rememberest that we are dust; and thou hast adapted thy government of this lower world to the frail and fallen nature with which its inhabitants are endowed. Blessed, therefore, be thy name, that thy throne is to man a throne of grace; and that though higher beings are required to present a faultless obedience, to man thou hast graciously revealed thyself as a Being who forgiveth iniquity and blotteth out sins,-and who is long-suffering even to his thoughtlessness and guilt.
I thank thee, O heavenly Father, that in thy blessed word this character of thine administration has been most fully revealed: for thou hast therein declared thyself to be the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Thou hast declared that thou hast no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but rather that he would turn unto thee and live. And it is throughout all thy word thy gracious declaration, that when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
Blessed, for ever blessed, be thy name, that this sound of mercy has been published upon earth. O make me truly thankful that, amidst all my offences, I can betake myself to this refuge of hope; and grant that that blessed word, in which this intimation is made, may be my meditation by day and by night.
But it is not by such declarations alone, that thou, O Lord, hast condescended to comfort and support thine erring creatures; for thou, who didst send thy beloved Son to take upon him this our human nature, didst also ordain, that his path of life should be full of sorrow,-that the fury of the wicked should be poured upon his head,—and that, at last, he should expire amidst cruel mockings, as the representative of the human race.
Draw near, O my soul, and behold this great
sight. Behold the beloved Son of God,-who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth,—yet stretched in agony on the accursed tree! Behold him, as the obedient servant of God, offering up his life as our Redeemer, and presenting unto his Father that sacrifice of perfect submission to the Divine will, and of an entire fulfilment of all the Divine commandments, which no other partaker of our nature has ever been able to offer for himself.
Grant, O heavenly Father, that I may always bear about with me the dying of the Lord Jesus; and that I may ever regard it in those instructive and impressive lights in which it was meant to be viewed.
Enable me to perceive, in this great event, the demerit of sin; and while I behold him who did no sin, yet undergoing, when made a sin-offering for us, such great sorrows, may I see in these an awful warning of the fate which awaits those who shall be finally impenitent. Yes, O Lord, if thy beloved Son was thus afflicted and humbled, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear in the day when thou arisest to take vengeance on their iniquities? and how dreadful must be the final portion of those who
not only resist all thy warnings, but who contemn this great salvation. May this consideration have its proper effect upon my heart, and, ever looking to thy chastening hand in the cross of my Redeemer, may it be my constant endeavour to avoid all iniquity, and to root out from my heart every disobedient thought.
In the cross of Christ enable me also to see the vanity of all earthly things; and when the beloved Son of God is perceived thus made subject to all human sorrows, may I learn to set my affections on something greater and better than any prosperity which this life has to offer me.
Enable me also, from the same consideration, to bear with resignation whatever sorrows or disappointments it may be thy will to ordain for me in the humble sphere in which I am appointed to move. Like the obedient Son of God, may I readily devote myself to every duty by which I can either do good to mankind, fulfil the will of my heavenly Father, or show my perfect trust in the wisdom of his dispensations.
Finally, O heavenly Father, grant that I may duly appreciate that great manifestation of thy love