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LORD'S DAY MORNING.
A UNIVERSAL SABBATH DESIRED.
O Lord, the God of heaven and of earth, who sittest in the highest heavens on a throne of glory, surrounded by cherubim and seraphim, angels and archangels, and all the glorified hosts above, ever singing thy praise and magnifying thee; and yet who condescendest to regard the feeblest cry of the needy, and the prayers of thy sinful creatures now assembled at thy mercy-seat; enable us to perceive and be assured that prayer unto thee is our richest privilege and our greatest honour.
We do indeed mourn before thee that most sad and affecting proof of our depravity, that we are so backward to this blessed duty, and so soon weary of it. Deeply ought we to be humbled in thy sight, that so often there is hardly any occupation in which we can engage wherein our spirit so soon flags, our thoughts so soon wander, which we are so reluctant to commence, and so ready to give up as prayer unto thee. If in happy times it be otherwise, and we realize our true honour, privilege, and blessedness
in communion with thee, what thanks are due to thee! O that we may this day find it thus good to draw near unto God.
O Lord, who hast made the Sabbath for man, hasten the time when not one weary soul in this world shall be without the blessedness of this day of rest; when there shall be no bearing of burdens, no toiling in earthly occupations, no buying nor selling; but holy joy and gladness, prayer and praise, and growth in divine knowledge, and communion of saints in every place; when all men shall hallow thy Sabbaths and they shall be a sign by which all may know that thou art the Lord their God.
O hasten the time when thy name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered unto thy name and a pure offering; when one holy Sabbath of rest shall comfort, and bless, and sanctify the whole earth, and the sun of righteousness shine forth on every nation, every city, every village, every dwelling, and every heart.
Lord, when shall it once be! Now when thou lookest upon our earth, thou beholdest a world lying in wickedness; thy glorious name, unknown or forgotten, insulted or blasphemed: thy Sabbaths profaned and despised; thy word set aside and mocked. Thou seest all the idolatries even of professedly Christian lands, which dishonour thee in the worship of saints, and images, and pictures; and in those who renounce open superstitions thou seest the more spi
ritual but not less real idolatry of lovers of the creature, lovers of pleasure and of gold more than of thee. And so the hearts of men are fully set in them to do evil, and they depart from thee, the living God.
Lord, give us such understanding in thy word that we may discern these things according to its light, and take thine own view of all things done on earth, and be among those who mourn for sin, especially our own sin, and sigh for the abominations that are committed, and thirst for the return of our Redeemer and his universal kingdom. May we also have grace so to do thy will as thine own children, that we may now be the salt of the earth, a salt not losing its own savour, but seasoning others, and preserving them from corruption.
Grant that this sabbath may be a day of real spiritual profit and edification. May all its sacred hours be occupied with thee. May our minds be enlightened by thy word, and may that word only be the ground of our faith, and may we all bring every thing we hear to the law and to the testimony that thou hast given, and, like the Bereans, search the scriptures, whether these things are so.
Bless all thy ministers in every place. We rejoice in thy goodness in raising up and sending forth the thousands of faithful labourers that this day will go forth and stand up to declare thy truth. Stand by them and assist them; set a watch over their mouths; open thou their lips to speak thy truth dis
tinctly, fully and boldly, so that thy people may be built up, sinners converted, the weak strengthened, and the sorrowful every where comforted, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
LORD'S DAY EVENING.
PRAISE FOR SABBATH MERCIES, THE HEAVENLY
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, accept, in the name of Jesus Christ, our hearty thanksgivings for all the blessings of this thy holy day. Thou hast called us in every thing to give thanks. We bless thee for preserving mercy, for health and for sickness, for strength and for weakness, for mercies and for trials, and for all the steps by which thou art leading us to thy heavenly kingdom.
We bless thee for thy preached word, thy holy baptism in the name of Jesus, thy holy table, thy worship in prayer, and praise, and intercession; the communion with saints on earth, and with angels and the church triumphant in heaven. We thank thee fr r any opportunities of teaching and helping the young, the ignorant, the sick, or the aged, rejoicing that it is allowed to thy people to do good on the Sabbath-day.
Help us all, O Lord Jesus, to look forward to that blessed place which thou art preparing for us in the
many mansions above, and bring us all to that happy and eternal home. Oh may we love thee more and more, who didst die for us, who art now thinking of us, and interceding for us. May thy love, O Christ, constrain us to live unto thee, and may we lay aside every weight, and each easily besetting sin, and run with patience the race that is set before us, looking constantly unto the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Poor indeed, and feeble, unworthy and polluted are all our services and worship, and might justly rather bring down upon us thy wrath than thy blessing. But enable us, O heavenly Father, to fix our eyes more upon thy mercy-seat in the heavens, and by faith in the merits of Jesus may we find peace and strength.
O Lord, prepare our hearts for all thy righteous and gracious dealings, as revealed in thy word. Grant that Israel may blossom and bud and fill the face of the earth with fruit; that Zion may arise and shine, and the Gentiles come to her light and kings to the brightness of her rising. May we be counted worthy to escape all those things that shall come upon this sinful world, and to stand before the Son of Man. May we be freed from all corruption, and share that kingdom, promised to thy saints, which shall not be moved. Fulfil thine own glorious promises, and hasten thy coming and thy manifested glory through the world.
Gracious Father, abundantly bless all the labours