« PreviousContinue »
lower in the scale of being for having had them, and become lastingly miserable.
The mind pleases itself with the contemplation, and on grounds not improbable surely, that this worthy person's family and friends would share with him in his light and advantages, and be the better for them for ever: that he
would carry them with him wherever he went, into other provinces of that vast empire, or, if ordered thither, to Rome itself; where he might meet with some one or other of his friends or acquaintance who would listen to his account of such extraordinary things; and at the lastnamed place there were some christians found, we know, in a very short time after our Saviour's crucifixion.
Such is the chain of events by which the designs of the Almighty, and the knowledge, virtue, and happiness, of his creatures are promoted.
You are each of you a link in that great chain, as we are all of us.
Be it our chief care to act under the gracious leading of Him, who is the cause of all causes, our Almighty Creator and heavenly Father, according to his directions by Jesus Christ! that we may fill our places well, in being
Being subservient to each others present and future happiness, and be approved of by him in the end.
O God, blessed for ever! the source of all being and happiness! who lovest all thy reasonable offspring with a most tender affection.
For thou art no respecter of persons, nor overlookest the meanest of thy creatures; but in every nation he that feareth thee and worketh righteousness, is accepted of thee.
Make us duly sensible of thy boundless goodness to us, whose ancestors were heathens, worshipers of idols, and knew not thee; but thy mercy, and the light of thy holy truth revealed by Jesus Christ, hath extended itself to us, and we have been delivered out of great errors and darkness.
And although, righteous Father! none shall suffer, or miss of attaining thy favour, who have acted up to the light afforded them, however dim and dark; for, that where thou givest little the less will be required:
Yet, as it hath pleased thee to bless us, the people of this land, with the full sunshine of the gospel, whereby we have superior advantages for holiness, enable us to walk in it, and
and to make proportionable advances in piety and all virtue; lest we be deprived of the blessings we slight and abuse, and become delivered over to an insensible unreproving mind, the worst state of all others.
Give us, therefore, we pray thee, O God, that well-grounded faith in Jesus our Lord and Master, the messenger of thy favour and love to us, that it may produce in us those fruits of holy obedience and all virtue, which he so highly commended in all those, in whom he found them in his lifetime here upon earth; and, without which, none shall gain admittance to thee in the heavenly mansions.
And because, thou, O God, who art so high, hast respect unto the lowly; to those who, being empty of all vain self-conceit, are more open to receive thy communications, and, sensible of their own manifold defects, are the more desirous and earnest to correct and amend them; and it was this grace divine, in which the blessed Jesus chiefly excelled, and because he so humbled himself, he is therefore now exalted by thee above all others.
Inspire us, we beseech thee, with that deep and just sense of our small attainments, and
the deficiencies of our best services, as may sink us low before thee; and in the midst of our endeavours after true wisdom and virtue, and labours to do good to others, still to strive to be clothed with humility, which can alone fit us to stand before thy presence in heaven; and to bear a part with the celestial choir who cast their crowns before thee, acknowledging that all they are or have is from thee, and that they, with all their attainments, are nothing compared with thee, O thou eternal source of all being, perfection, and blessedness!
Unto thee, therefore, O Father, who art the only living and true God, be praise, thanksgiving, and an increasing obedience by us, and by all thine intelligent creation, for ever and ever!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with
us all evermore !
January 9, 1785.
ACTS xxvii. 35, 36, 37.
And when he bad thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. And we were in all in the ship, two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.
Ir appears from this last verse, that the writer of this book, St. Luke, was himself one of the company, whose situation he is here describing; so that he relates the things to which he was present, which cannot but give us great satisfaction.
You need not to be informed, that the person of whom he speaks was St. Paul, who was now on his way to Rome, a prisoner under custody, to be tried before the emperor Nero himself, to whom he had appealed from the unrelenting persecutions of his countrymen