« PreviousContinue »
not as our thoughts, nor thy ways as our ways; but as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are thy thoughts and thy ways above ours. Thou art our refuge and strength, a present help in time of trouble.
And now we come to thee, O Lord our God, in behalf of this thy servant, that lies here in a low and distressed state, under thy chastening hand. Look down we beseech thee, mercifully upon him; and be thou gracious and favourable to him, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies in Christ Jesus. If thou but speak the word, he will be healed.-And in submission to thy most wise and good disposal of all things, we would beg this mercy at thy hands, that thou wouldst be pleased to rebuke his distemper, to remove thy stroke, and cause the bitter cup which thou hast given him to pass away from him, and make him a way to escape out of the affliction that is upon him, and to this end, that thou wouldst direct to the means proper for his help, and command a blessing upon them to promote his recovery. Spare him, good Lord, and restore him if it be thy will, that he may have a long time to work out his salvation, and be more useful in his place, and do more good in his generation; or however thou shalt be pleased to deal with him as to the concerns of his body, which we pray may be in a way of gentleness and tender mercy; yet Lord, let his soul be ever precious in thy sight; and may this sickness be for the health of that immortal better part, to promote his salvation everlasting.
O give him a right discerning of the things belonging to his peace, before they be hid from his eyes; show him what he is to do; enable him for the doing of it, that he may have the sound peace with God, through Jesus Christ; give him the true repentance towards God, and the right faith in the only Saviour of the world; wash and cleanse his soul with the blood of thy Son, and the graces of thy Spirit, that it may be delivered from all defilements it has contracted in this present evil world, and be found safe and happy in the hour of death, and in the great day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Fit him, O Lord, for living or dying, whatever in thy wise and righteous providence thou hast designed for him, that it may be unto him Christ to live, and gain to
die, that in all, he may find cause to glorify thy name, still experiencing thy gracious goodness to him in the Son of thy love; if thou shalt please yet to release him from his bed of languishing, to live longer upon earth, O that he may live to thee in thy fear, and to thy praise, and do thee better service, and bring thee greater glory; or, if thou hast determined that this sickness shall be a sickness unto death, and this visitation his last visitation, prepare him, O merciful God, by thy grace, for thy blessed self; and grant him a safe and comfortable passage out of this wretched life, to an infinitely better, through the merits and mediation of thy beloved Son, our only Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
FOR ONE DYING.
O THE hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof in ime of trouble! when all other hope and help fail, it is not in vain to seek unto thee for succour, who canst bring back from the mouth of the grave, and where thou art not pleased any further to prolong the temporal life, yet canst deliver from eternal death, and bring safe to the blessed life everlasting. We beg the recovery of thy servant, O Lord, now that he seems to us going the way of all flesh, and launching forth into his everlasting
O Lord our God, leave him not, nor forsake him, but support and assist him now in his sorest extremities, in his last agonies, when he is to conflict with the king of terrors; let him find the most sweet and seasonable aids from the Almighty God of his salvation, and take him not out of this life till thou hast fitted him for a better. O thou ever living God, stand by him in the dying hour, and secure him in thy hands from the enemies of his soul, and finish all that is wanting of the work of thy grace upon his heart. Freely and fully pardon and deliver him from all his sins, and fit him to appear with comfort and rejoicing in thy blessed presence. O make his departure easy, and full of peace and hope; carry him safe through the dark passage, upon which he is entering, and let him find it the gate of glory, and a door opened into the everlasting kingdom and joy of
his Lord. Into thy hands we commend his spirit. O thou Father of mercies, be merciful to him, and receive his departing soul; and when he is numbered among the dead, let him also be numbered among the redeemed and blessed of the Lord, for his sake who himself died for sinners, and rose again, and lives, and is alive for ever more, and has the keys of death and hell. To thy mercy, in that blest Saviour of the world, O most merciful Father, we now humbly commend him; beseeching thee to be all in all to him, and infinitely better than we are worthy or able to ask for him; and let him be thine in life and death, and for evermore, through the all-sufficient mediation of thy dear Son, our prevailing Advocate and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE EVENING AFTER A FUNERAL.
O THOU Father of mercies, and God of all comfort. Thou hast often invited us to thyself, by kindness; and it manifests our depravity, that we think of thee so little in the hour of ease and prosperity. But we are now before thee in affliction and distress. Yet we rejoice to know, that thou art a very present, and an all-sufficient help in trouble.
Thou takest away, and who can hinder thee, or say unto thee, What doest thou? Thou hast a right to do what thou wilt with thine own. Thou art a Sovereign, and the reasons of thy conduct are often far above, out of our sight; but thy work is perfect, thy ways are judgment. All thy dispensations are wise, and righteous, and kind-kind, even when they seem to be se
May we hear thy voice in thy rod, as well as in thy word: and gathering from the corrections with which we are exercised, the peaceable fruit of righteousness, be able to acknowledge, with all our suffering brethren before us, It is good for me that I have been afflicted.
It is not the Scripture only, that reminds us of our living in a dying world, but all observation and experience. Man is continually going to his long home, and the mourners daily go about the streets. And we are all accomplishing as an hireling, our day, and in a
little time our neighbours, friends, and relations, will seek us—and we shall not be. Our days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope. Thou hast made our days as an hand's breadth, and our age is as nothing before thee: verily, every man at his best state is altogether vanity. For our days are not only few, but full of evil. Anxieties perplex us; dangers alarm us; infirmities oppress us; disappoinments afflict us; losses impoverish us-we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled-O, shut not thy merciful ear to our prayers; but spare us, O Lord, most holy; O God, most mighty; O holy and most merciful Saviour; thou most worthy Judge Eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any bitter pains of death to fall from thee.
We acknowledge, O God, with shame and sorrow, that the state of degradation and mortality, in which we groan, was not our original condition. Thou madest man upright; but he sought out many inventions. By one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death hath passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
And we bless thee that this is not our final state. By the discoveries of faith, we see new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. We see the spirits of just men made perfect. We see our vile bodies changed, and fashioned like the Saviour's own glorious body; and man, the sinner, raised above the angels, who never sinned.
We bless thee for this purpose of grace, formed before the world began, and accomplished in the fulness of time, by the Son of thy love, who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the gospel; and who among the ravages of the grave, says, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom-that wisdom which will lead us to prefer the soul to the body, and eternity to time; that wisdom which will lead us to secure an interest in a better world, before we are removed from this.
O, let not the trifles of time induce us to neglect the
one thing needful. While each of us is compelled to say, I know thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living, may we be enabled also to say, I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him, against that day.
And, O, let not the solemnities we have this day witnessed, be ever forgotten; for often, our most serious impressions have worn off, and our goodness has been as the morning cloud and early dew that soon passeth
Thou hast permitted death to invade our circle, and hast turned our dwelling into a house of mourning. May we find that it is better to be in the house of mourning, than in the house of mirth. By the sadness of the countenance may the heart be made better, more serious to reflect, and more softened to take impression.
With the feelings of the creature, may we blend the views and the hopes of the Christian. May we remember that thou hast bereaved us, resuming what was lent us for a season, but never ceased to be thine own. May we, therefore, be dumb, and open not our mouth, because thou hast done it; or if we speak, may it be to acknowledge and pray-I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me; let thy loving-kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.
Now unto him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
MOURNING FOR THE LOSS OF RELATIVES AND FRIENDS. Smith.
O THOU who art our great Creator, and, by thy good hand upon us, still our merciful Preserver, may we at this time approach the footstool of thy throne, with thy divine forgiveness and gracious acceptance. To whom can we go but unto thee, who art the Father of lights, and Fountain of every blessing; and who hast said