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Grace after Meals.
We thank thee, O Lord, for what we have received; and beseech thee to feed our souls with the bread of eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
sion, and they who are determined to follow the fashion in all its follies, think themselves obliged to omit a duty both easy and useful. They ought not to suffer fashion to supersede duty and decency: but they assert, that, such is the power of the arbitrary tyrant, they cannot do what they ought. A bad excuse, indeed, and such a one as will scarcely be accepted for an omission injurious to themselves, to their children, their servants, their neighbourhood, and the cause of religion.
“ Independently of a consecration of the table being observed religiously by the politest nations of antiquity, (and a great number of examples from the classics might prove this), the primitive Christians, imitating the example of the Jews, and more particularly our Saviour, were strict in the performance of those pious duties which consecrated the table, and in returning thanks to God for the daily supply of necessary sustenance,"
The Lord's Prayer. * This prayer stands unrivalled in
every circumstance that constitutes the perfection of prayer, and the excellence of that species of composition. It is concise, it is conspicuous, it is solemn, it is comprehensive, it is adapted to all ranks, conditions, and classes of men; it fixes our thoughts on a few great important points, and impresses on our minds a deep sense of the goodness and greatness of that Almighty Being to whom it is addressed.
*“The Lord's Prayer,” says Paley, " is a precedent, as well as a pattern, for forms of prayer. Our Lord appears, if not to have prescribed, at least to have authorised the use of fixed forms, when he complied with the request of the disciple, who said unto him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”— (Luke xi. 1.)
The full meaning of this admirable prayer, and of the several petitions contained in it, may perhaps be not improperly expressed in the following manner.
O thou Great Parent of the universe, our creator, our preserver and continual benefactor, grant that we, and all reasonable creatures, may entertain just and worthy notions of thy nature and attributes, may fear thy power, and admire thy wisdom, adore thy goodness, rely upon thy truth, may reverence thy holy name, may bless and praise thee, may worship and obey thee. Grant that all the nations of the earth may come to the knowledge and belief of thy holy religion ; that it may every where produce the blessed fruits of piety, righteousness, charity, and sobriety; that, by a constant endeavour to obey thy holy laws, we may approach, as near as the infirmity of our nature will allow, to the more perfect obedience of the angels that are in heaven; and thus qualify ourselves for entering into thy kingdom of glory hereafter.
Feed us, we beseech thee, with food convenient for us. We ask not for riches and honours; give us only what is necessary for our comfortable subsistence in the several stations which thy Providence has allotted to us; and above all, give us contented minds. We are all, O Lord, even the best of us, miserable sinners. Be not extreme, we beseech thee, to mark what we have done amiss; but pity our infirmities, and pardon our offences. Yet let us not dare to implore forgiveness from thee, unless we also from our hearts, : forgive our offending brethren.
We are surrounded, on every side, with temptations to sin ; and such is the corrup
tion and frailty of our nature, that without thy powerful succour, we cannot always stand upright. Take us, then, O gracious God, under thy Almighty protection; and amidst all the dangers and difficulties of our Christian warfare, be thou our refuge and support. Suffer us not to be tempted above what we are able to bear; but send thy Holy Spirit to strengthen our weak endeavours, and to enable us to escape, or to subdue, all the enemies of our salvation.
Preserve us also, if it be thy blessed will, not only from our spiritual, but from temporal evil. Keep us ever by thy watchful Providence, both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls ; that thou, being in all cases our ruler and guide, we may pass through things temporal, as finally to lose not the things eternal.”