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O THOU who art the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, we adore thee as the fountain of life, the Author of our being, and the source of our enjoyments. We bless thee for the comforts we, personally and as a family, enjoy. And while we remember with gratitude the many tokens of thy kindness, we would unite in supplicating the peculiar aids of thy good Spirit, to sustain and comfort us at this time under the pressure of thy mighty hand.
May the member of this family whom thou hast been pleased to visit with personal affliction, especially experience the supports of thy presence and grace. With thee are the issues of life; and we humbly entreat thee, if consistent with thy will, to check the progress of disease, to restore health, and to prolong life. But especially we pray, that thou who dost nothing in vain, mayest command a blessing to attend this dispensation of thy providence. Render it subservient, we entreat thee, to the best and most merciful purposes. May it work patience, and may patience produce experience, and may experience give birth to hope--even that hope which maketh not ashamed, which rests on the promises of thy blessed word, which is the anchor of the soul amidst all its agitations, and which is the prelude of everlasting glory.
And in the multitude of our thoughts within us, let thy comforts also delight our souls. May our anxieties be restrained; and let our hope be in thee.
In contemplating thy dealings with others, may we learn to be prepared for what may be in reserve for ourselves. When we see that human strength is but weakness, and that man in his best estate is but vanity, may we be taught the end and the measure of our days, how frail we are. And seeing that all flesh is as grass, and all the goodliness thereof as the flower of the grass ; that the grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away, O may we cling with firmer faith to the hopes and the promises of that word of the Lord, which endureth for ever, and which by the Gospel is preached unto us.
While we possess health, may we value it: may we regard it as a mercy for which we cannot be too thankful ; and improve it as a talent for which we must render an account. And when, O Lord, it is thy will to withdraw our present means of enjoyment and usefulness, may the remembrance of the past keep us grateful and resigned : may the change find us prepared : under the burden of weakness and decay, may we take firmer hold of thy strength, and most gladly glory in infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon us.
Now, unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, unto him be glory by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
AFTER THE DEATH OF A FRIEND.
O THOU who dwellest in eternity, and art from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God, and besides thee there is none else. Thou art the absolute Proprietor and sovereign Disposer of all things : thou choosest out for us the lot of our inheritance, arrangest all the circumstances of our condition, appointest the bounds of our habitation, and fixest the number of our years.
We humble ourselves, O Lord, before thee in acknowledgment of our dependence and infirmity. Naked came we into the world ; and naked must we return thither; and few and evil are the days of the years of the life of man in his best estate. Thou hast been pleased to enter this family, and to vindicate thy prerogative to give life and to take it away. Thou hast removed from our society one bound to us by many ties. We acknowledge thy right to do with thine own as seemeth good in thy sight. We bow before thee in submission and humility, and our language from the heart to thee, O Lord, would be,
The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
When we behold the ravages of death, enable us to remember that its origin is sin. May we be deeply humbled when we reflect that the evils in our outward condition are symbols and memorials of guilt, which has provoked the Most High to anger, and armed his providence against us.
But while thus abased and contrite, may we also remember and rejoice, that where sin abounded, grace hath much more abounded; and that though the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. We rejoice in him who is the resurrection and the life: we rejoice in his death, by which he hath taken away the sting from death : we rejoice in his life, by which he hath secured life for as many as believe in his name.
O may we be united to him by a true, a lively, and a steadfast faith. And, believing in him, may we look beyond the grave, and rise above the fears which nature hath learned from guilt. May we behold death conquered by him, who for our sakes consented to die : may we see life secured for us by him who now liveth for evermore. And knowing that he hath the keys of hell and of death, may we without dismay behold our believing friends taken from us, and prepare ourselves to follow them, assured that all is well with them that sleep in Jesus.
Sanctify, we beseech thee, the present dispensation of thy providence to all the members and connexions of this family. In the removal of one so closely united to them, may they behold an image of what must shortly happen to themselves. While their hearts are filled with sorrow on account of their loss, may they remember that they are but strangers and sojourners, that the world in which they live is passing away, that even the desire to remain in it will soon be lost, and that there is nothing permanent but the character and the hopes of them that do the will of God. With minds weaned from worldly attachments, with hearts elevated above the engrossing pursuit of temporal gratification, with desires stretching forth unto the objects of a glorious futurity,with a spiritual vision cleared of carnal obstructions, and piercing through the vail unto the things that are at thy right hand where the Saviour sitteth—may we spend the remainder of our time, not impatient of life, but prepared to die; not negligent of present duty, but dwelling with supreme delight on future hope. Thus, O Lord, may we live, and thus may we be ready in thy good time to die.
Guide us by thy counsel ; restore comfort, and sanctify us by thy grace; and finally conduct us to thy glory. And to thee, in Jesus Christ, through whom thou givest us the victory, be glory and honour, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
FOR A FAMILY DETAINED FROM PUBLIC
PRAISE waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion; and unto thee shall the vow be performed. But we also bless thee that thou hast promised to create upon every dwelling-place of Mount Zion, as well as upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night, and upon all the glory to establish a defence. While thou art pleased this day to be in the midst of the congregations of thy saints, draw near also in compassion to us who are necessarily absent from thy courts, and cause us