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But we rejoice that though we have thus done wickedly, thou art willing to have mercy upon us. Believing thy word, and encouraged by its invitations and promises, we now approach thee, and throw ourselves upon thy mercy. We come to thee not in our own name, nor trusting in our own righteousness, but relying, with implicit and undivided faith, on the sacrifice and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, who bore our sins in his own body on the tree; who died, the just for the unjust; and who, having died for our offences, hath been raised again for our justification, and is now at thy right hand, making intercession continually.
Through him, O Lord, we presume to come with hope and confidence. We cast ourselves wholly on thy mercy, in Jesus Christ: and our petition to thee in him is, “ pardon our iniquity, for it is great; purge us with hyssop, and we shall be clean; yea, wash us, and we shall be whiter than snow.” Believing that the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin, may we hear the voice of joy and gladness : and under the influence of the same blessed faith, may our hard hearts be softened, and our rebellious wills subdued ; that whereas in time past we have done iniquity, in time to come we may do no more. Create in us, O Lord, a clean heart; renew a right spirit within us. Cast us not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from us; restore unto us the joy of thy salvation, and uphold us with thy free Spirit. Thus sustained, encouraged, and directed by thee, may we make progress in the good way of the Lord. Being
made free from sin, and having become the servants of God, may we have our fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
We beseech thee, O Lord, to be with us through this night. Grant us quiet, and comfortable, and refreshing sleep. May our bodies be protected from danger, and our minds from the intrusion of sinful thoughts. Make us thankful for every past mercy. If it please thee, spare us to see the light of another day; prepare us for the approaching solemnities of a season of communion; and may every fresh token of thy goodness lead us to a more sincere and entire dedication of ourselves to thy service. All that we ask is in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, to whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be glory for ever. Amen.
FOR THE EVENING BEFORE A COMMUNION
O Thou who art the giver of every good and perfect gift, and to whom we are indebted for the means, not only of temporal, but of spiritual and eternal life; make us thankful for the prospect we enjoy of access to thy table, and of communion with thee in thine ordinances. Make us thankful for Jesus Christ thine unspeakable gift; and by means of that ordinance in which his death is commemorated, and through which his disciples are by faith made partakers of his body and blood, enable us to hold fellowship with him, to realize our interest in him, and to receive more largely from him, as our supreme and living head.
In the prospect before us, may our minds be deeply and suitably affected. May we feel the honour conferred upon us, in being invited to partake of a feast prepared by the Lord of glory. With enlargement of heart, may we hearken to the invitation addressed to us; and as those whom the Master of the feast calls not servants but friends, may we be prepared to take our place at the table that is spread for us. Rejoicing in thy love, and trusting in the accomplishment of thy promises, may the language of our souls be, "O God thou art our God, early will we seek thee: our soul thirsteth for thee: our flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory so as we have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, our lips shall praise thee.”
And grant also, O Lord, that in the prospect before us, we may be faithful to ourselves. Forbid, we beseech thee, that any of us should dishonour thee and do injury to ourselves by a rash and inconsiderate approach to thy holy table. May we remember the dispositions by which we ought to be influenced in every act of devotion; and fear lest by coldness, by levity, by insincerity, we offend Him who will be sanctified of all them that draw nigh unto him, and who requires that they that worship him, worship him in spirit and in truth.
And 0 do thơu who hast searched us and known
us, impart to us that knowledge of ourselves which is needful to our acceptably and profitably serving thee. Search us, () God, and know our heart: try us, and know our thoughts ; and see if there be any wicked
in us, and lead us in the way everlasting. Enable us, with seriousness and impartiality, to apply the standard of thy word to our character: show us wherein we are defective, or wherein we have gone astray : and 0 do thou dispose and enable us, with earnestness and sincerity of purpose, to avail ourselves of the means of correcting our faults, supplying our deficiences, and reaching forth unto the things whereunto we have not yet attained.
With thee, O Lord, is the preparation of the heart and the answer of the tongue-send down upon us, we beseech thee, of thy Holy Spirit to qualify us for the service in which we are to engage. May he who is the Spirit of truth lead us into all truth : may he show us the truth concerning ourselves, the truth concerning the Saviour, the truth concerning our duty, and the truth concerning his service. And while he convinces us of sin, may he unveil to us the compassion, the all-sufficiency, and the suitableness of the Saviour, so that while we mourn over our own unfitness to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to a pure and holy God, we may be filled with a joyful and confiding sense of the power and grace of him, who hath taught us to ask from him of his own, wherewith we may serve him.
Enliven, we pray, our dormant graces : excite our faith, our hope, our love. Though unseen, may the
Saviour vouchsafe his special and gracious presence with us and with his people at his table; and while we take into our hands the memorials of his love, may he send into our hearts such a sense of that love—such a lively recollection of the wonders it hath wrought, and such a powerful impression of its present and active operation in our behalf, that our hearts shall burn within us, and ourlanguage shall be, “O how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men. Blessed be the Lord, for he hath showed us marvellous kindness!”
We commend to thee, gracious God, the young and those who shall for the first time approach thy table. Restrain the fears, and remove the scruples, of thy genuine people. Reveal to them the freeness of the Gospel, the kindness and compassion of the Saviour, the duty and the privileges of all his believing people. And while thus taught that they are not straitened in Christ, accompany the lesson with a double portion of thy Spirit as the Spirit of adoption, that they may not be straitened in themselves.
And while thus thou encouragest the faint-hearted, send conviction into the consciences of the presumptuous and the self-confident. Draw a fence around thy table, and prepare for thyself a people who shall have fellowship one with another and with Christ their living Head : and let thy name be hallowed, and the design of thine ordinance answered in the