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our portion, may we avouch thee in him to be our God; may we take thee to be our Ruler, our Guardian, and our Guide; and though other lords may have had dominion over us, by thee henceforward may we make mention of thy name.
We lament, O Lord, that so much of our time and thoughts should have been alienated from thee, or partially devoted to thee. But do thou, to whom all power belongs, accept the entire surrender we now make of ourselves to thee, and manifest the exceeding riches of thy grace by making us thy workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Let the commencement of this year be marked by new communications from above of thy holy Spirit, and by the formation within us of clearer views, purer desires, and higher aims, than we have heretofore experienced.
Let the new year be a new epoch in our spiritual history. Instead of consuming the season in levity and recreation, may we employ it as the occasion of more serious reflection on the shortness, the uncertainty, and the value of time; may we turn our thoughts to an eternal world, and apply, with greater sincerity and earnestness than before, to preparation for the solemn changes that await us.
While we enjoy thy goodness, and allow our affections to expand to those who are united to us by the ties of nature or of friendship, may our hearts not be overcharged with the cares, the pleasures, and the attachments of this life. May we grow in grace as we advance in years; and as the last year and day of life approach, may we be progressively attaining to that state in which, with loins girded and lamps burning, we shall be ready to go forth to meet the Bridegroom at his coming
O Lord, we know not what is in reserve for us in the year on which we have entered. But we wait for thy salvation : and our hope is in thy word. To thee we intrust all our interests. Into thy hand also we commit our spirits, for thou hast redeemed us, O Lord God of truth. Fit us for the duties and trials that may be in reserve for us. And whether it be thy will to call us hence this year, or to prolong our lives beyond it, may we equally be prepared for thy will-steadfast and immoveable, abounding always in the work of the Lord.
Be very gracious to our friends. Enrich them with the bounties of thy providence, and the gifts of thy grace. Let thy cause and people prosper. May a new impulse this year be given to the cause of truth. May new zeal in its behalf be experienced by its friends: and let their exertions and prayers be crowned with unwonted success.
And now, O Lord, we leave thy throne trusting in thy mercy, blessing thee for past goodness, and supplicating the continued aid of thy Holy Spirit. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with us all. Amen.
LAST EVENING OF THE YEAR.
BEFORE Thee, O Lord, who art from everlasting to everlasting, we this evening bow down ourselves in humility and gratitude. By thy good hand upon us, we have been preserved during another year. Help us to look back upon the scenes through which we have passed, and to trace the course of thy merciful providence in its various dealings with us. Bring to our remembrance the mercies we have enjoyed, the dangers we have escaped, the discipline we have endured, and the consolations and supports we have experienced. Nor let us be unmindful of our sins. Recall to our remembrance the folly, the perverseness, the pride, and the worldliness that have characterised the state of our feelings and deportment. Humble us when we reflect how many evenis have occurred, calculated to make an impression on our minds which have nowise affected us—how many lessons of divine truth have been addressed to us, which we have not been careful to treasure up and improve—how much of the divine procedure with us we have slightly observed, and soon forgotten.
And when we think of our own unprofitableness, let us be deeply impressed with thy forbearance. Though many a time thou hast come to us seeking fruit, and hast found none, thou hast not been provoked to destroy us.
For thine own name's sake hast thou deferred thine anger, and for thy praise hast thou refrained, that thou hast not cut us down.
Still are we in the land of the living : still in possession of mercies and privileges : still surrounded by testimonies to thy goodness ; and still addressed by inducements to attach ourselves to thy service.
O may the design of all thy gracious dispensations be fully accomplished in our behalf. Let thy Holy Spirit sanctify to us the course of thy providence, and render it conducive to the establishment and growth of religion in our souls. When we behold the vanity of all that is in this world ; when we see how quickly, yet how silently, time moves on; when we see days, and weeks, and months, and years escape from us; when we see every thing changing its place, and the persons we once knew passing away from our society to the solitude of the grave; when we remember the vicissitudes that have occurred within the sphere of our own observation during the course of the year that is about to close ; and when we reflect that greater and more affecting changes may be in reserve for us in the year that is about to commence-O may we be inspired with that true wisdom, which employs its best cares in providing for the happiness of the soul, by securing for it interest in those blessings which shall retain their value, when the heart and flesh fail, and when the earth and all the works that are therein shall be
And, if through grace these blessings be already ours, let the events of thy providence raise them in our esteem, and induce us to act more uniformly on a principle of fixed and supreme regard to them.
May we grow more heavenly-minded, as we approach nearer the grave. May we daily learn to look with a colder eye upon things we are so soon to leave ; and may we reach forward with intenser interest to those things that are before, which constitute the high prize of our calling. May our love to one another grow day by day : may our attachment to the gospel, our interest in its truths, our satisfaction with its precepts, our confidence in its promises, our delight in its institutions, our fellow-feeling with its friends, our conformity to its spirit, and our zeal for its honour, undergo a constant and a perceptible increase. And when at length, O Lord, we are called to leave the world, may there be nothing doubtful to ourselves or to others in the step we are about to take: may there be nothing violent in the transition from earth to heaven : may the change we make, be a change of state, and not of character--a higher stage in our ascending path—a removal from the outer court, where we have walked with God, to the inner sanctuary, where we shall see him as he is.
To thy mercy, O Lord, we commend ourselves this night. Let the angel of the Lord encamp around us, and let the eternal God himself be our refuge. To thy protection and care, during our future pilgrimage, we commit our souls, our bodies, and our spirits. Be gracious to our friends; and let thy blessing extend to the whole circle embraced by our affections, or connected with us by the ties of neighbourhood or of nature. All who are dear to us, and. all that interests us, we leave with thee. And now,