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9. I will arife, and go to my father, and will fay unto him, Father, I have finned against Heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy fon. St Luke XV. 18, 19.

10. Enter not into judgment with thy fervant, O Lord; for in thy fight fhall no man living be juftified. Pf. cxliii. 2. 11. If we fay that we have no fin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us: but if we confefs our fins, he is faithful and juft to forgive us our fins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 St John i. 8, 9.

Early beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in

nifold fins and wickednefs: and that we fhould not diffemble, nor cloke them before the face of Almighty God


be preceded by the general judgment; and if you fhould appear at the tribunal of God unprepared, and without having repented of your fins, you must expect to perish everlastingly.

9. I will, after the example of the prodigal fon, lying under the oppreffion of the guilt and mifery which my fins have brought upon me, return to my heavenly Father, and acknowledge the heinaufnefs of them, whereby I have defervedly forfeited his favour and protection.

10 O Lord, do not too feverely mark what I have done amifs;-the word in the original Hebrew fignifies, do not enter into judgment with me, or carry me before thy awful tribunal;-for shouldft thou exact perfect righteoufnefs, the most upright man cannot stand the trial; no man living can expect falvation for his own righteoufnefs, the very best of men cannot expect to be faved by his good works, but muft depend upon thy


41. This life being a ftate which can never attain to perfection, and the very beft men being obnoxious to great failings, to fay that we are entirely free from the dominion of fin, is altogether faife and abfurd, it is utterly inconfiftent with the truth and fimplicity of our religion: but if we acknowledge our fins before God, and fincerely repent of them, his mercy being equal to his juftice, he will pardon us upon our fulfilling thofe conditions, and will, for the time to come, preferve us from any mortal fin, by affording us the affistance of his holy fpirit, which will confirm and establish us in every good work. Rom. xvi. 20.

1. My beloved brethren and fellow chriftians, the holy fcriptures, whofe authority is acknowledg'd by you, and by all true believers, not only

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our heavenly Father; but confefs them with an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart; to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the fame, by his infinite goodness and mercy. 2. And although we ought at all times humbly to acknowledge our fins before God, yet ought we most chiefly fo to do, when we affemble and meet together, to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, to fet forth his moft worthy praise, to hear his most holy word, and to ask thofe things which are requifite


only in the parts which I have juft read to you but in their whole tenour, do exhort us to confefs unto God our numerous tranfgreffions of his facred laws befides, it is the height of folly for us to hope to conceal them from the fearcher of hearts, from whofe piercing fight no fecrets can efcape. Our guilt would be greatly inhanced by hypocrify, fhould we, notwithftanding our many fins, attempt to justify ourselves in the awful prefence of the Almighty. It is our duty, as chriftians, to perform thefe three parts of true repentance: firft, we should, with an humble and contrite heart, confefs our fins before God, like the publican who addressed the Almighty in thefe pathetic terms-God be merciful to me a finner: fecondly, to this we should add a real and unfeign'd forrow, for having offended the Almighty, and for having juftly incurr'd his difpleafure: And laftly, we should, above all, take fuch a disgust against our fins, as to refolve to forfake them for ever, and to regulate the remainder of our lives according to God's holy law. We need never defpair of God's forgivenefs, if we repent of our fins in this manner; but we should not presume that even fuch a repentance will entitle us to claim impunity of our fins from God; for this we must rely wholly upon that infinite goodnefs and mercy which is offer'd to us by his fon our Saviour Jefus Chrift. It is the mystery of redemption alone that can fave us; we cannot hope to have our fins wafh'd away, but by the blood of our bleffed Lord who fuffer'd for us upon the cross.

2. And altho' we ought at all times, or in thofe frequent private devotions which are enjoined us by our religion, to perform this duty of confeffion, which is fo important a part of prayer, it is in a particular mannor incumbent upon us to have recourfe to it in the public affemblies of chriftians, who meet together to acquit themselves of the four great duties enjoined them by religious worthip: first, to return thanks for favours already conferr'd upon them: fecondly, to praife and adore the Almighty for his tranfcendent goodness: thirdly, to hear God's word read and preached fourthly, to intreat God to beftow fpiritual and temporal bleflings upon them. But without a confeffion of our fins, and the other effential parts of true repentance, we cannot discharge any of these public duties. As long as we remain in our fins we cannot render an acceptable


and neceffary, as well for the body as the foul. 3. Wherefore I pray and befeech you, as many as are here present, to accompany me with a pure heart and humble voice, unto the throne of the heavenly grace, faying after me.

A general Confeffion, to be faid of the whole Congregation, after the Minifter, all kneeling.


LMIGHTY, and moft merciful Father. 2. We have erred and ftrayed from thy ways like loft fheep. 3. We have followed too much the devices and de


thanksgiving unto the Lord; we cannot praise and admire his divinc perfections, till we have forfaken our evil courses; whilft we are enslaved to worldly lufts, we cannot be devout hearers of his holy word; nor can we hope that our prayers will be accepted, whilft the wickedness of our lives render us abominable in the fight of our creator.

3. I therefore, in the most earnest manner, request all of you, who affift upon this folemn occafion, to proftrate yourfelves before God and addrefs him with fervent prayer, which I, as the minifter of God, offer up to the throne of his grace both for you and myfelf; I do not perform this duty alone, as the priest did under the Jewish difpenfation, and as the papifts, who have imitated them, do at prefent, but I defire you, who enjoy higher privileges by virtue of Chrift's covenant, to accompany me thither with purity of heart; repeating after me the form of words prefcrib'd by the church upon this occafion; intreating you, that you would endeavour to animate your hearts with that warmth, fincerity, and devotion, and be attentive and ferious as the worship of God requires; taking care, in all your refponfes, equally to avoid a loud and clamorous voice, as well as one low and inarticulate, and that you make ufe only of an humble voice fuited to the foiemnity of the occafion,

1. O Lord, we make application to thee on account of those attributes of thine, which muft difpofe thee to pardon finners; thy Omnipotence, from which we may hope for conftant affiftance, and thy mercy, which makes thee always ready to afford it to us: being filled with hopes of forgiveness by that relation of fatherhood, which thou hast been pleased to own that thou beareft towards us.

2. We, with the utmoft confufion, confefs the many fins and errors which we have been surprised into; we have wander'd from the paths of our duty, and ftray'd from the ways which we were directed to walk in by the holy religion which thou haft revealed: and this, according to the comparison of our Saviour, after the manner of thofe loft fheep that ftray from their fhepherds, and are thereby expofed to a variety of dangers.

fires of our own hearts. 4. We have offended against thy holy laws. 5. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; 6. And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; 7. And there is no health in us. 8. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miferable offenders. 9. Spare thou them, O God, which confefs their faults. 10. Reftore thou them that are penitent; 11. According to thy promifes declared unto mankind in Chrift Jefu our Lord. And grant, O moft merciful Father, for his fake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and fober life; To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.


3. We acknowledge that we have too often yielded to those unlawful defires which we have been prompted to by the corruption of our nature, occafioned by original fin.

4. To thefe we have added many pofitive breaches of thy holy laws, the obfervance of which has been fo ftrictly enjoined us.

5. We, moreover, acknowledge ourselves to have been guilty of many fins of omiffion, in neglecting the duties commanded us.

6. And we have alfo been guilty of many fins of commiffion, by doing fuch actions as are forbidden by the law of God.

7. So that there is no part of our fouls free from the infection of fin, but the disease with which they labour, is almost universal; or, (in other words) we cannot hope for health or falvation from ourselves.

8. We therefore have recourfe to thy goodness, O God, and humbly implore thy aid, to deliver us from this burden of our fins.

9. Remit therefore, we intreat thee, the punishment which we have incurred by our fins, upon our confeffion of them, and hearty repentance of them.

10. And if our penitence be fincere, reftore us to the place which we formerly held in thy favour, and which we have forfeited by our tranfgref fions; and let us partake of the benefits of thine elect faints, whofe privileges all wicked and impenitent finners are excluded from.

11. According to the promifes which thou haft made unto us in the gofpel-revelation, delivered to us by Jefus Chrift. Therefore we beseech thee, O gracious God, not in the name of any faint or angel, but in the name of thy dear Son, as thou haft promised to give whatever we ask in his name, (John xvi. 23.) to affift us fo powerfully with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that, for the time to come, we may faithfully acquit ourfelves of every part of our chriftian duty that we may lead a godly life, by paying a devout worship to the Almighty that we may live righteoufly, in behaving with juftice and charity to our neighbours, and fuberly,

The Abfolution, or Remiffion of Sins, to be pronounced by the Prieft alone, ftanding; the People still kneeling.


Lmighty God, the Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift, who defireth not the death of a finner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live; and hath given power and commandment to his Minifters, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Abfolution and Remiffion of their fins: He pardoneth and abfolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel. 2. Wherefore let us befeech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit; that thofe things may please him, which we do at this prefent, and that the reft of our life hereafter may be pure and holy; fo that at the last we may come to his eternal joy, through Jefus Christ our Lord.

The People fhall answer bere, and at the End of all other Prayers, Amen.


in performing all the duties of temperance, chastity, and other virtues, which more immediately concern ourselves. Nor do we defire this, in order to reflect honour upon ourselves, or to acquire any merit by leading fach a religious life, but only, that the greater glory may be ascribed to thy goodness, by whofe grace we hope to have this wonderful change effected in our hearts.

1. The almighty God, who is invefted with power over all things in heaven and earth, who does not defire that any finner fhould be everlattingly unhappy; (Ezek. xviii. 28.) but rather that he should efcape perdition, and enjoy an happy eternity; and to this end, hath impowered the ministers of the gofpel, and even given them pofitive orders, (Matth. xviii. 18. John xx. 23) to declare remiffion of fins to all fincere penients: he, by the mouth of his minifter, pronounceth pardon and abfolution to all who are poffeffed of the requifite qualifications for it, i. e. a fincere repentance of his fins, and a firm belief of his Holy Gospel. Mark xv. Acts XX. 21.

2. Therefore, that we may reap the benefit of this holy ordinance, let us pray to God, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift, (James i. 17.) to bestow upon us the grace of true repentance and the affilitance of his Holy Spirit, for without the aid of this bleffed Spirit, which Arengthens our weakness and heals our infirmities, our devotion can never be acceptable to him: the affiftance of his Holy Spirit is likewife neceffary


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