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ring that this house may long be a place of holy and grateful devotion to Almighty God, who is the God of all grace, let us humbly and faithfully implore his blessing on this our solemn service.
Proposed Form of Prayer.
ETERNAL, Almighty, and incomprehensible Jehovah; whose being filleth the immensity of space; whom heaven, and the heaven of heavens cannot contain; much less the walls of temples made with hands. What house can we build unto thee, O Lord, and where is the place of thy rest! Yet didst thou graciously promise thy people of old time, that in all places where thou recordedst thy name, thou wouldst come unto them, and wouldst bless them. And since thy son Jesus Christ has taught us, that in the Christian church the true wor shippers should worship the Father in spirit and in truth; vouchsafe, O Lord, we beseech thee, to be graciously present with us, who are here gathered together, with all humility and readiness of heart, to dedicate this house to the honour of thy holy name, and to the setting forth of thy most worthy praise: thus setting this building apart from ordinary and common uses, to be an house of holy worship, in which thy people may offer unto thee their fervent prayers and supplications, and their devout thanksgivings and praises; and in which thy holy word and gospel may be read and published, to their edification, and their unspeakable joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
Blessed be thy name, O Lord, that it hath pleased thee to put it into the hearts of thy servants, our brethren in this place, to build this comely and convenient house; and to devote the same to thy honour and worship. Accept, we pray thee, this our free-will offering; and grant that all who shall enjoy
the benefit of this pious work, may show forth their gratitude, by making a right use and improvement of their Christian privileges, to the glory of thy holy and blessed name; through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Saviour. AMEN.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we devoutly rejoice that it hath pleased thee to have thy habitation among the sons of men; and to dwell, by thy holy influences, in the midst of the assemblies of thy people. Bless, we beseech thee, the religious services of this occasion; and grant that in this place which we now sacredly set apart, thy worship may long be maintained in truth and purity. May the worshippers in this house be impressed with a deep sense of thy adorable Majesty, and of thy great goodness; as well as with a just and humiliating view of their own unworthiness and entire dependance that so approaching thy sanctuary with lowliness and sincere devotion; and coming before thee with clean thoughts, and pure hearts; with bodies undefiled, and minds sanctified; they may always perform an acceptable service, to thy glory, and their own high satisfaction and joy; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. AMEN.
A sentence of dedication may then be solemnly pronounced by the officiating minister, or by some one chosen to do it, in the form following, or such like.
IN THE NAME OF GOD. AMEN.
In behalf of the ministering brethren who are present, ministers under Christ, of the CHRISTIAN SANCTUARY, and of "the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man"-In behalf of all who witness this sacred and joyful dedication-In behalf of all who have contributed to the erection of this edifice; and especially in behalf of the Christian
society in this place, for whose particular accommodation and benefit this building has been erected; I solemnly pronounce and declare this house, by the name and title of the Church of the First, [Second, or Third, as the case may be] Universalist Society in [here give the name of the town or city] now sacredly set apart from all profane and common uses, and reverently devoted and consecrated, to the service and worship of the ONE LIVING AND TRUE GOD: "of whom, and through whom, and to whom are all things:" and to whom be ascribed all majesty, dominion and power; and all honour, thanksgiving and praise; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. AMEN.
The following may then be said by the officiating minister, and by the other ministers and people, alternately as before: all standing selected from the 118th Psalm.
Minister. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious; because his mercy endureth for ever. Response. Let Israel now say that he is gracious, and that his mercy endureth for ever.
M. Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
R. Let them now that fear the Lord, say that his mercy endureth for ever.
M. The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
R. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.
M. The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.
Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them; and I will praise the Lord.
M. This is the gate of the Lord into which the righteous shall enter.
R. I will praise thee; for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.
M. The stone which the builders refused is become the head-stone of the corner.
R. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
M. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
R. Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee send now prosperity.
M. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.
R. God is the Lord who hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
M. Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
R. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
M. Glory to God in the highest.
R. And on earth peace, good will toward men. Then the choir may sing a hymn, or anthem. Then may follow the sermon and address. Then another hymn; and then the closing prayer, and benediction.
A Prayer of Dedication, in Imitation of the Prayer of Solomon at the Dedication of the Ancient Temple of Jerusalem.
ORD God of Israel, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ-There is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on the earth beneath; who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants, and with thy people in all generations. As thou didst perform thy word which thou spakest unto thy servant David of old, concerning the throne of Israel; so, O Lord, we look unto thee for the performance,
in due time, of that which thou hast promised to the seed of David, even thy son the Messiah, saying, "I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Let thy word, O Lord, be verified, which thou hast spoken; and let all thy promises which thou hast made concerning the children of men, be fulfilled, according to thy faithfulness and truth.
And although heaven, and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee, much less this house which we have builded; yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servants and to their supplication, O Lord our God; to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer which thy servants pray before thee to-day. That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day even toward this place in which we are now assembled to record thy name here: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayers which thy servants shall make in this place. And hearken thou, O Lord, to the supplications of thy servants, and of thy people, whensoever they shall pray in this place, and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling-place, and when thou hearest, forgive.
When thy people shall be smitten with calamity and affliction, because they have sinned against thee; and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people, and restore to them the tokens of thy favour and loving-kindness.
When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray in this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them: then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people, and teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land