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to experience the blessedness of the people whose God is the Lord.
We thank thee, O Lord, for the outward institutions of thy worship; but we bless thee that thou art not confined to these. While, therefore, we look back with gratitude to past public opportunities of improvement, and beseech thee to satisfy us early in like manner with thy mercy, that our souls may again rejoice and be glad in thee, we humbly entreat thy presence at this time, to sanctify to us the exercises in which we shall engage—to bless to us the reading of thy holy word—to open our understandings to receive and apply the truths founded upon it, to which our attention may be directed to lead 'our minds into suitable trains of meditation and reflection and to compensate to us by a double portion of thy Spirit, for the external privileges of which for the present we are deprived.
We remember, O Lord, with regret, the comparative indifference with which we may formerly have regarded the privileges of thy house, and the small improvement we have made of them. But we humbly pray that the past may be forgiven, and that we may be taught from present privations to attach a higher value to ordinances of thine own appointment, and to derive a larger measure of advantage from them in days which are to come. Let not our sins draw down upon us that heaviest of all calamities, a famine of the word of the Lord. Though we deserve nothing at thy hand but judgment, let the greatness of thy mercy cause thee to accompany
the means with the influences of thy grace; and whilst thou givest us from day to day our daily bread, feed us also with the hidden manna, the bread of life that came down from heaven.
And while we thus pray for ourselves, we would also bear on our minds the necessities of thy church and people. Be this day in the midst of every assembly of thy genuine worshippers. Release them form the bondage of fear, of enmity, and of constraint. May they find that thy yoke is easy, and that thy burden is light—that thy worship is privilege,
and thy service perfect freedom. While they raise their voices in thy praise, may their hearts ascend to thy throne. While they pour out their hearts and make known their wants unto thee, inspire them with confidence in thy promises, and hope in thy mercy. And while they hearken to the instructions of thy holy word, let the entrance of thy word give light; yea give them understanding, that they keep thy law.
Bless, we pray thee, the ministrations of thy servants. While they stand at thine altar, may they feel the warmth of the fire that glows upon it. May they be men of God, and ensamples to the flock in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Diffuse among all classes of men a greater acquaintance with thy word, and a more sincere and zealous desire to experience its power and to advance its interests. We lament that so large a portion of the human race are still in bondage to ignorance, to su
perstition, to idolatry. But we pray that the reign
and undefiled religion advance. O Lord, thou hast been favourable to our beloved land. Let the tokens of thy merciful regard continue to distinguish her. Be thou, às in times past, the glory of her strength; and in thy favour let her horn be exalted. On the head of our King pour down thy best blessings. reign be a reign of peace and righteousness; and may all classes of the community, experiencing the advantages of a mild and paternal government, grow in wisdom and knowledge, and in the fear of the Lord.
And now, O Lord, we humbly beseech thee to look in compassion upon all who, like ourselves, are this day prevented from assembling in the courts of thy house. Let them not feel thy day to be a burden, or thy service a weariness. Debarred from thy house may they seek thy face, and rejoice in the thought that thou art not the inhabitant of temples made by hands. If disturbed by anxious thoughts, or suffering from bodily disease, or watching by the side of those who are stretched on beds of pain and languishing—if oppressed by sorrow, agitated by fear, or harassed by temptation, O look mercifully upon them, and while their cry ascends to thy throne, send down thy Holy Spirit to bind up their broken hearts, and to pour the oil of gladness into their wounded spirits. Let the thought of a suffering Saviour reconcile them to suffering, while a sense of his presence and love supports them under it.
Be with us, O Lord, as we are now to be engaged. Compose our minds; excite our attention; enlighten our understanding ; affect and impress our hearts; and let the means of spiritual improvement we possess, be gratefully prized and suitably employed, and be accompanied with an effectual blessing through Jesus Christ. And to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be everlasting praises. Amen.
FIRST MORNING OF THE NEW YEAR.
O LORD, our Creator and Redeemer, on this the morning of a new year, we desire to approach thy throne, and to renew our covenant with thee, to whom we are indebted for life, and breath, and all things. We adore thee as self-existent, eternal, independent, and infinite; comprehending in thyself all perfection, and conferring upon thy creatures all their endowments, their excellence, and their happiness.
We thank thee for all the goodness we have experienced at thy hands. What have we which we have not received ? By thy word we were called into existence ; by thy providence our wants have been supplied ; and now, it is on thy power, and wisdom, and goodness, that we depend for future guidance and protection. In ourselves, we are weak and indigent creatures, children of yesterday, exposed to innumerable dangers and calamities, unable to provide for our own happiness, or to support the burdens which it is thy will to lay upon us.
Our days also are numbered. We are strangers before thee, and sojourners—on our way to the grave, possessed of but a temporary interest in the blessings we call our own, and destined, in we know not how short a time, to say to corruption, " thou art my father," and to the worm," thou art my mother and my sister.”
But while oppressed with a sense of our own weakness, we rejoice that we are permitted to lay hold of thy strength. In all generations thou hast been the dwelling-place of thy people. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. And we rejoice to know that when these monuments of thy power shall be dissolved, when the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner, thy salvation shall be for ever, and thy righteousness shall not be abolished.
Blessed be thy name for Jesus Christ, in whom thy perfections are pledged for the happiness of thy people. Teach us to believe in him; help us to abide in him. Satisfied that the world cannot be