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Majesty. I beseech thee to direct and guide all my thoughts, words, and actions; and grant that no dulness or weariness may attend the performance of my religious duties, or retard my anxious wishes to please thee in all I think, and say, and do. Exempt my mind from all perplexing thoughts, and infuse into my soul the affections which it was meant to inspire. Let me not, however, be misunderstood. I mean not that it should be either to the rich or the poor, or to any human being whatever, a day of gloom and melancholy, a day of superstitious rigour, and of absolute exclusion from all society and all innocent recreation. I know of nothing in scripture that requires this; I know of no good effect that could result from it. On the contrary, it is a festival, a joyful festival ;* a day to which we ought always to
* Dr. Watts truly observes that RELIGION was never designed to make our pleasures less ;' and we read in the Proverbs, that "her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”—“Rejoice in the Lord alway,” says the Apostle ; "and again I say, REJOICE.” Prov. iii. 17. Philip.iv. 4.
mild and amiable principles which peculiarly belong to those who sincerely love thee, and follow thy commandments. Give me a serious disposition to listen to thy blessed word, and a retentive memory to render it efficacious in promoting my present and future happiness. May every good instruction, whether in thy house of
look forward with delight, and enjoy with a thankful and grateful heart. But let it be remembered at the same time, that it is a day which God claims as his own ; that he has stamped upon it a peculiar sanctity; and that it ought to be distinguished from every other day, in the first place, by resting from our usual occupations, and giving rest to our servants and our cattle ; in the next, by attendance on the public worship of God; and in the remaining intervals, by relaxations and enjoyments peculiarly its own ; not by quotidian tumult, noise, and dissipation ; but by the calm and silent pleasures of retirement, of recollection, of devout meditation, of secret prayer, yet mingled discreetly with select society, with friendly converse, with sober recreation, and with decent cheerfulness throughout the whole.”
my family, be conducive to my own peace and comfort, as well as to thy honour and glory. May it sink deep into my heart, and shine forth in my life and conversation. Let me be, O blessed Lord, not only a hearer of thy Word, but a doer* of it; that so I may be found worthy of thy protection, and be more fit for thy heavenly kingdom. Instil into my mind the genuine doctrines of Christianity. Give me grace to imitate the example of my blessed Redeemer, and to walk in his steps all the days of my life. Make me circumspect in all my doings, and mindful of my duty to thee, and my fellow-creatures. My sins and transgressions are many; and in
* Read attentively the 1st chapter of The General Epistle of James.
spite of my best endeavours to lead a holy and exemplary life, I am
but too often led away by the customs and examples of this evil world. O pity my weakness, forgive my infirmities, and lay not to my charge the imperfections of my religious duties. Animate my sluggish heart, and cleanse it from all impurity. Replenish my soul with thy Holy Spirit, and make me fruitful in every good word and work. Show me in time the uncertainty of this life, and the awful concerns of a future state of existence. Let all my views be directed to that solemn end; and before I die, let my sins be blotted out for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour. AMEN.
Our Father, &c.
Sunday Evening. O THOU GREAT AND GLORIOUS GOD, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! how kind and merciful art thou to the children of men! And yet, ( blessed Lord, how often is thy holy name taken in vain, and how little do the generality of mankind regard thee with the reverence that is due to thy greatness, thy power, and thy dominion. Give me very different thoughts, and implant in my mind the utmost humility, and the most unfeigned devotion. Let me be unalterably persuaded, that “thy service is perfect freedom," and that, without thy favour and love, “ I am of all creatures the most miserable !" Earnestly do I wish, O Lord God, that I was a blameless Christian. But, alas! how prone I am