A Prayer book for families and private persons
AND PRIVATE PERSONS,
UPON VARIOUS SUBJECTS AND OCCASIONS:
In which all the Prayers are so arranged, that when any one is too long to be used without inconvenience, it may be shortened by leaving out some of the paragraphs: and this may be done without injury to the connection.
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
GRACES FOR YOUNG PERSONS.
PRINTED FOR THE BOOKSELLERS.
My Friends and Fellow-Christians,
We, dust and ashes, are assembled to speak unto the ⟨⟩ Lord God of heaven and earth, our Maker and our ⟨⟩, who deserves from us all possible reverence ⟨⟩ we presume to call upon Him. We are going to ⟨⟩ to that God who strictly charges us to take heed ⟨⟩ we draw not nigh to him with our lips, whilst our ⟨⟩ are far from him—to that God who is of purer ⟨⟩ to regard our services without the meditation of the ⟨⟩ One and the Just, who died for our sins, but hath ⟨⟩ to give us whatever we shall ask of him in his ⟨⟩, and to perform all our petitions.
Now, therefore, let us lift up our hearts to him that ⟨⟩ may fill us with reverence and godly fear, with ⟨⟩ and lowliness of mind, with lively faith in the ⟨⟩ and prevailing intercession of Jesus, and with ⟨⟩ that we shall receive whatever we ask according ⟨⟩ his will. With these holy dispositions we should ⟨⟩ desire to bow down our knees before God.
A FAMILY MORNING PRAYER.
O Thou, Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and ⟨⟩ of glory, who hast so loved the world as to give ⟨⟩ only-begotten Son, to the end, that all who believe ⟨⟩ him should not perish but have everlasting life, mercifully regard us merciful sinners. Thou seest how slow of heart we are to believe the record thou hast given ⟨⟩ thy Son. Though we read of his glory, how ⟨⟩ does it affect us! Though he has a name which ⟨⟩ above every name in heaven or earth, how little ⟨⟩ do we feel in him! or consolation from all that he ⟨⟩ done and suffered!
Have compassion upon us, O Lord, and help us⟨⟩ Give us what thou hast most graciously promised, ⟨⟩ Spirit of truth to open our understanding, that we may understand the things which are spoken of thy Son ⟨⟩ the scriptures. O give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; of his person and ⟨⟩ office; of his love and power towards all that hear ⟨⟩ voice and follow him; that so we may abound in clear, magnificent, and endearing thoughts of Jesus Christ ⟨⟩ Lord; that he may be no less precious to us than ⟨⟩ was to the glorious company of the Apostles, and ⟨⟩ noble army of the martyrs. Thou, O God, hast declared that thy Son shall be exalted and extolled, ⟨⟩ shall be very high. Help us, we earnestly pray thee⟨⟩ to give him the honour day by day, more perfectly⟨⟩ Enable us to comprehend with all saints the immeasurable extent of his love; the breadth and length, ⟨⟩ height and depth thereof.
We beg this of thee, O our God, in order that ⟨⟩ may have our affections raised up to heaven, ⟨⟩ Christ sitteth on thy right hand; that we may ⟨⟩ more dead to the world, and walk more becoming ⟨⟩ Christian character: that we may be enriched as ⟨⟩ as possible with light and grace, joy and peace in ⟨⟩ present life; and to shew forth the praise of Him ⟨⟩ hath called us out of darkness into marvellous light.
We beseech thee, that the excellency of our knowledge of Christ may be evidenced to others, by our adding day by day to our faith a noble Christian courage, in defence of his truth, honour, and government: by a constant victory over our corrupt affections; by a moderate use of all lawful comforts; by a meek and quiet spirit under all our trials, and by resignation to the will of our heavenly Father.
Grant, O Lord, that our knowledge of the redemption that is in Jesus may work effectually this day upon our hearts. Let the Saviour's love to us be the pattern of ours to all that are round about us; let it make us zealous to embrace all opportunities of ministering to the happiness of one another. If we cannot assist the needy by our alms, or protect the oppressed by our power, O let us diligently exercise love, in abstaining from all uncharitableness of speech, from all frowardness and evil tempers: let us look upon the failings of others with pity, as if they were our own: make us kind and tender hearted, forbearing and forgiving all, as thou, for Christ's sake, hast forgiven us. Banish from our dwelling all variance, whisperings, heart-burnings, and evil surmisings. Let peace and gentleness, meekness and goodness, be exercised by all of us one towards another, and the only contention in our family be this, who shall conform most to the will of God, by abounding in brotherly kindness and fervent charity. Thou, O God, that makest men to be of one mind that dwell together, inspire us with a spirit of concord, and harmonize all our naturally selfish tempers. O let this benefit at least be found from our family-devotion, that we may agree better together, and live more in peace and quietness, than those who call not upon thee; who lie down and rise up like the herd of the stall, never saying, Where is God the Maker!
Continue, we beseech thee, if it seemeth good to thee, the voice of health and strength amongst us, and the favour of thy prosperous providence; but give us grace to expect and to be ready for a change. And, as in a day, nay, in an hour, our prosperity may be turned by thee into deep affliction, our health into pining sickness, our ease into tormenting pain, and our life into death. O Lord God, establish us in Christ Jesus, and give the earnest of thy spirit in our hearts, that, whatever we are called to suffer, we may not be afraid with any amazement, but bear our cross cheerfully, to the edification of those around us.
Comfort and protect continually all our near relations and dear friends. Sanctify to them their present circumstances whatever they are. May they mind the things of the Spirit, and never be deluded by things of time and sense. Be their guide through life, and at death give them admission into thy kingdom and glory.
Promote, O God, the peace and welfare of this our country. Let thy servant, our most gracious King, be continually, guided by thy counsel, and reign over us in righteousness. May he and his Ministers with unwearied labour, seek to promote thy glory and his people's good.
Free and relieve all who are distressed or oppressed; regard their hearts, bear their sighs and make them to see their sin in their suffering, to humble themselves under thy hand, and find that it is good for them to be afflicted. Bless our enemies; do good to them who hate us; and ever enable us to return good-will for evil.
Accept our praises for our continued preservation by thy goodness, who has first brought us into being; for sleep upon our beds, for the return of the day after the shades of darkness, for the use of our reason, the comfort of this opportunity of worshipping thy name, and above all, for the light of life, the Son of Righteousness, Christ Jesus; for whom, with all that is within us, webless thy name; in whom we command ourselves and our services to thee; and to whom, with thyself and the Holy Ghost, one God over all, be all honour and praise, love and obedience, for evermore.
Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
A FAMILY EVENING PRAYER.
Blessed and holy Lord God, who didst make all things by thy power, who rulest all things by thy providence, and fillest all things by thy presence, we, thy unworthy creatures, beseech thee to fill our hearts with an awful sense of thee, and with humility, sincerity, and faith in Christ in our approaches to thee.
We thankfully acknowledge our absolute dependence upon thee; for our lives, and all the comforts of them, we are indebted to thy bounty. Thy hands have fashioned us in the womb, brought us into this world, and ever since we saw the light, filled us with variety of good. We adore thy sparing mercy. Justly mightest thou have brought upon us all the curses written in the book of thy law against thy transgressors: and had thy ways been as our ways, and thy thoughts like our thoughts towards our enemies, we had long since been past the power of offering to thee our thanks and praise, beyond the benefit of prayer, or the hope of pardon.
We confess, O Lord, we have been transgressors of thy law, in thought, word, and deed. We are chargeable with the workings and defilements of pride and hypocrisy, of uncharitableness and sensuality of self-love, and worldliness of heart, notwithstanding all the methods thou hast taken to heal these diseases of our souls. We have sinned against the clear revelation of thy will, and the strongest obligations binding us to comply with it. We have sinned against thy most inviting promises, and thy most dreadful threatenings: against the frequent warnings of thy Word, the renewed motions and powerful convictions of thy Spirit, and the precious blood of Christ. We have sinned against the light of our understanding, against promises and purposes of obedience, and against the strongest remonstrances of our own conscienses.
O God, we cannot recount the number of our sins, nor fully set in order all their aggravations. We should not therefore presume to ask for thy pardoning mercy, if we do not trust that thy Spirit has created within us a holy mourning for all our wickedness, and for that corruption of our nature, from whence as their fountain, all these poisonous streams have flowed. O humble us effectually, and place before us all the detestable qualities which meet together in every act of sin, that injustice and contempt towards thee, that rebellion and ingratitude which prevail in it. And oh! most merciful Father, speak peace to our souls, weary and heavy laden with guilt, through the death and sufferings of thy dear Son, and for the sake of his precious sacrifice, avert the punishment from us. Increase in us the faith whereby we only can be justified, and have peace with thee, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Accompany thy pardoning mercy with thy purifying grace. Help us, o Father, thou God of all power and might, to put of the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts, and to put on the new man which is created after thine own image, in righteousness and true holiness. Give us a new heart and put within us a new spirit. O grant us a mind weaned from the pomps and pleasures, the profits and honours, and all the transitory enjoyments of the flesh; but hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Prevent us by thy grace, that we may never more commit sin with the deceitful hope of gaining advantage by it. Impress us continually with the conviction, that the gaining of the whole world can be of no recompense for the loss of the soul.
O let that solemn account we must ere long give, when the throne shall be set, the books be opened, and the dead, small, and great, stand before God, influence the whole course of our lives; O let us so believe and so obey, that when Christ shall come in the clouds with power and great glory, we may then cry out in holy raptures. Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us! This is the Lord, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation!
In thy merciful protection, O God, we humbly commit ourselves, our dear friends and relations this night. The darkness is no darkness with thee, but the night is as clear as the day. Defend, we beseech thee, our persons, our dwellings, and our possessions. Refresh us with sweet sleep; and with the health and strength of our bodies, and the vigour of our minds, let us serve thee all our days, till through the gate of death we enter into that blessed kingdom, where there is no night; where we all receive the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls, through Jesus Christ; in dependence upon whose righteousness and intercession we farther pray: Our Father, &c.
FOR THE LORD'S DAY MORNING.
Thanks be unto thee, O most merciful and gracious God, for having devoted this day to thy service. Never can we sufficiently express the obligations we owe thee for this stated season of rest from labour; for this delightful opportunity afforded us of imitating the heavenly host, whilst we assemble ourselves with one heart and voice to glorify thee, O God, our heavenly Father; and thee O Christ, our Advocate, Righteousness, and Life; and thee, O eternal Spirit, the Comforter and Sanctifier of the Church of God.
We praise thee, who instead of loathing our persons for our sinful pride and stubborn forgetfulness of thee, hast taken the most effectual methods to teach us the knowledge and plant in us the love of thy name. We praise thee that thou hast commanded us to make, on this day, public confession of our guilt, and of thy hatred of sin; of our disobedience and the riches of thy forbearance towards us; of our weakness, depravity, and need of thy perpetual grace to help us. We praise thee for commanding us to make public intercession for all sorts and conditions of men, in order that our hearts may be the more enlarged towards them, and our hands the more ready to minister to their necessities. We praise thee for this opportunity of hearing thy holy scripture, which is profitable for our reproof, for our correction, and for our instruction in righteousness.
We bless thee that we have our habitation fixed in the land of liberty, under the bright beams of thy glorious gospel; that we can worship thee according to our conscience, no one making us afraid; that we are not required to pay adoration to those who by nature are not gods, nor compelled to bow down ataltar of idols. We praise thee that we are in health and strength to use the sacred opportunity of going with the multitude that keep thy holy day, into the house where thou hast recorded thy name, and promised to meet and bless us. How amiable are thy dwellings, O Lord of hosts; one day employed in them is better than a thousand engrossed by the business of the world.
We praise thee also for passing by all the provocations and insults which we have offered unto thee by abusing and profaning this holy day, by our detestable presumption in compassing thee about with deceit and lies. O how often have we rushed into the courts of thy house without meditation, without prayer, without any desire to worship thee with an holy worship! how often have we dissembled and pretend to give thee glory, when we were yet living in our sins, making the angry with us every day, and casting thy law behind us!
O, our God, let the time past suffice for us to have entered into thy courts thoughtless and unhumbled, self-satisfied, and self-sufficient. Now teach us effectually to reverence thy sanctuary: make us feel awful conceptions of the God with whom we have to do, and of the infinite importance of the holy exercises in which we are going to engage. Thou knowest our souls cleave to the very dust of the ground. O send thy quickening Spirit to raise our thoughts and desires up to thee in every part of thy holy worship. Shield us on every side from the flesh, the world, and the devil, that they may have no power to fill us with sinful distractions, and make us absent in spirit while we are presenting our bodies in thy temple.
While we confess our guilt, open thou our understanding, we beseech thee, that we may understand all the aggravations of our wickedness. Call back to remembrance whatever at any time has made us appear most vile in our own eyes, that we may now feel a godly sorrow, and be really ashamed and confounded at the sight of our iniquity.—Accompany, we beseech thee, the reading of thy most holy word with the power of thy own Spirit, that so the practice of thy saints, and thy peculiar favour towards them, may stir us up to be diligent followers of their examples: that we may receive the strong consolation from thy promises, which in Christ Jesus are all sure and infallibly certain, and, by hearing the gospel proclaimed, attain to clearer views of thy great salvation. When we are offering up our intercession to thee, give us to feel tenderness of heart, melting pity towards all our fellow creatures in distress, and very fervently desire that thou wouldst immediately appear for their relief. When we ask for mercy and forgiveness, strength and holiness of heart, may we ask with an earnestness suited to the value of these gifts, and with a strong conviction of our unavoidable misery, if our suit is rejected.
When we join in giving thanks unto thy name, O make all thy goodness to pass before us. Excite in us such a lively remembrance of the multitude of thy mercies towards us, as shall fill our souls as it were with marrow and fatness, whilst our mouths are praising thee with joyful lips.—From the beginning to the conclusion of the service of thy sanctuary, by the perpetual influence of thy free Spirit, do thou uphold us, that we may be satisfied with the pleasures of thy house, and offer to thee a pure offering in righteousness.
And, as thou, O Lord, hast ordained that the people should seek thy law at the mouth of thy ministers, do thou fill them with knowledge and sound doctrine; that they may preach not themselves, but Christ Jesus, the Lord. Under their instructions delivered according to thy will, may our ignorance be dispelled, our slothful hearts quickened, our fears removed, our hope encouraged, and our souls established in grace.
Finally, we beseech thee, O God, to incline our hearts to sanctify this whole day. Make it our delight to employ our time in reading thy word, in meditation and privacy, not yielding to the sinfulness of our hearts, or the custom of the world, in speaking our own words, in thinking our own thoughts, and finding our own pleasure on thy holy day. And grant us grace so to use this day of rest and of public worship in this life that we may none of us fail of having a part in the everlasting adoration, praise, and love of thy name in the life to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A FAMILY PRAYER ON THE EVENING OF THE LORD'S DAY.
O LORD, thou art great, wonderful, and holy. Thou art exalted far above all blessing and praise which can ever be afforded to thee by the angels of light; yet such is thy condescending mercy, that the door of thy house has been open this day to us, vile dust and miserable sinners. We have been waiting on thee in the ordinances of thy own appointment; and as we implore the comfort and help of thy spirit before we present ourselves in thy courts, so now, as becometh us in bounded duty, we desire to return thee our most hearty thanks and praise, if we have found any deliverance from the hardness, unbelief, distraction, and deceitfulness of our depraved hearts, whilst we were offering our vows unto thee.
Not unto us, but to the influence of thy Spirit be the praise, if we have confessed our sins this day with any self-loathing, and being melted into contrition for our offences; if the forbearance thou hast shown towards us, and thy tender pity in sparing us, though so richly deserving damnation, have been sensible to our hearts, whilst we were accusing ourselves before thee. We praise thee if we have sanctified this day, and our holy services in it, to the honour of our Lord Jesus Christ, by looking only to the virtue of his atonement for the remission of our sins. We bless thee if we have found thy word sweet unto us, and the increasing discovery of thy love delightful to our hearts; if we have been filled with faith, and experience in our hearts the Spirit of Grace, of prayer and supplication; so that instead of saying, When will the Sabbath be gone, that we may buy and sell and get gain? we have found the spiritual provisions of thy house a feast indeed to our souls. We thank thee if thy word preached hath searched us, making any hidden corruption; if it has been for our edification, exhortation, and comfort in Christ Jesus. We thank thee, if it has been a pleasant and joyful thing to us to be thankful, to speak good of thy name, and to declare thy goodness towards the children of men.
Lord, increase and stir up within us evermore devote affections when we call upon thee: and in whatsoever we have displeased thee this day, O do thou pardon us. Overlook what has been wanting, forgive what has been amiss, though we are too blind ourselves to perceive it. There is iniquity in our most holy offering. Purge away, we beseech thee, the defilement of them in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness. Accept our devotions at the hands of our faithful and merciful High-priest, and may our sacrifices be perfumed with the sweet incense of his merits.
For his sake fulfil all the requests we have this day made known unto thee. O give us strength and power to live more according to thy will, in all righteousness and holiness. Let the benefit and success of our public worship be manifested in our whole deportment; and the influence of the good impressions made upon us in thy house, appear in our sincere love both to God and man, in our abhoring all that is evil, and cleaving to that which is good. Let every heavenly and Christian temper we have this day requested shine in our conversation, and our lives be a transcript of the graces we ask in our prayers. May we return again to our respective employments armed with the whole armour of God, and determined in nothing wilfully to offend thee May thy praise and love, thy power and glory, and the mightiness of thy kingdom, be much in our thoughts, till at length we are brought to that everlasting sabbath where we shall no more need the use of these means; no more behold thee our God at a distance, and through ordinances darkly, but see thee face to face, and know thee even as we are known.
We desire now particularly to recommend to thy mercy all who are united to us by the ties of kindred or special friendship. Let none of them slightly estimate this holy day, or blindly think it enough to be merely present at the assemblies of thy people. May they ever worship thee in spirit and truth, and esteem this day their delight.
We beg thy mercy upon all those nations which yet sit in darkness and the shadow of death, that the Sun of Righteousness may arise upon them to guide their feet into the way of peace. O hasten the time, when all thou hast promised concerning the church in the last days shall be accomplished; bring in the fulness of the Gentiles, and let all Israel be saved. Revive and cause to flourish in all places upon earth pure and undefiled religion. Let the power of godliness prevail, and daily obtain victory over the formality and hypocrisy of mere nominal christians.
Particularly we recommend to thy protection and tenderest care, the kingdom in which we dwell. We entreat thee to direct, sanctify, and govern the heart of our Sovereign Lord, the King. Prosper all his counsels for the good of his subjects. May he live dear to thee, beloved of his people, and receive at thy hands, after death, a crown of glory. Bless the Royal Family, and all that are in authority over us.
Take us this night, O our God, under thy protection. Watch over us whilst we sleep; if we wake in the night season, may our meditation of thee be sweet and our souls be glad in the Lord. If we are spared to see the light of the returning day, may we rise from our beds to give all diligence to walk before thee to all well-pleasing.—And whether we wake or sleep, live or die, may we be the Lords. To him, with thee, O Father, and the Holy Ghost, be ascribed, as most due, everlasting praise, might, majesty, and dominion.
A PRAYER TO BE USED WHEN ANY MEMBER OF THE FAMILY IS SICK.
Either entire as a Morning or evening Prayer for the Family or occasionally with some of the Family, or in part, paragraphs, selected from it being added to the usual family devotions.
O THOU infinitely great and glorious God, thou killest and makest alive. Thou woundest and thy hands make whole. Thou bringest down to the grave, and bringest back again. Thou dost according to thy will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay thine hand or say unto thee, What dost thou? yet righteous art thou in all thy ways, and holy in all thy works. Even when thou afflictest, and causest trouble and heaviness to fall upon us, it is that we may learn righteousness from thy judgments, and receive profit from thy correction.
Wherefore, though thou hast not visited our house with sickness, and art calling us to humiliation for our sins, yet we would still speak good of thy name, and love and bless thee. We desire at this season to remember all the past mercies with which thou hast been pleased to bless us and our household. God forbid that our present grief should make us unmindful of the constant benefits we have enjoyed. How long has each of our family lain down and risen up, gone out and come in, in health, strength, and peace? How long has the candle of the Lord shone upon us without intermission? For these multiplied favours, blessed, O Lord, be thy good and holy name; since the smallest of benefits is more than we deserve, and the sharpest affliction less.
To us, on account of transgressions, is most justly due, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish. Wherefore then should living men complain, men and transgressors, for the punishment of their sin? Shall we receive so much good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil? patiently and contentedly receive evil also; this temper we know, O Lord, is our bounding duty; O form it in us. And as in great compassion to us, thou hast opened a way of relief for us under every trouble, by directing, commanding, and encouraging us in all our afflictions to pour out our complaints unto thee, and tell thee of all we fear and feel; to thee, O Father of mercies, do we make our supplications at this time. O Lord be not far from us.
In entire submission to thy most wise and holy will, we do now most earnestly pray for that person whose sickness fills us with so much concern. O look upon him (or her) in his low estate; suffer not we beseech thee, his disorder to proceed, and let not his sickness be unto death, but be for the manifestation of thy grace towards us all. Thou knowest, Lord, his frame; lay no more upon him than thou wilt enable him to bear with patience and quietness of mind. And O, thou great Physician, without whom all others are of no value, do thou direct to the most proper medecines, and bless the art of healing to his body, and our great comfort. In thy due time restore thy servant to health and strength again, that he may have a longer day of grace and salvation, prove more useful, and do more good in his.
In the meantime, however, thou shalt think fit to dispose of him, O sanctify unto him this affliction; work in him deep humiliation for his sin; bless him with repentance unto life; enable him by faith to behold the Lamb of God, and to trust in the fountain opened in his blood for the remission of sins, that, being justified through faith, he may have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Make all his bed in his sickness, and let patience have its perfect work in his soul. Raise him up to praise thy name, to pay those vows he makes in trouble before the assembly of thy saints, and to walk in newness of life. But if thou dost not see fit to spare thy servant, whom we are now remembering before thee, O prepare every one of this family according to our several relations, for the awful stroke. With respect to himself, if the time of his departure draweth nigh, O let his heart be comforted by the promises in Christ, and taste that thou art gracious unto him. May his soul be safe and happy at the hour of death; and in the great day of the Lord Jesus Christ may be found among those who died for him.
And help us all, who are now in health, to improve this loud and solemn call to prepare for our own sickness and disease. Let us not abuse our bodily strength to encourage ourselves in sinful security and impenitence. Grant that we may always be ready, by performing the will of our Lord, that whensoever he shall come, we may be found of him in peace and enter into his joy; that whenever our health is turned into sickness, and our strength into weakness, and our ease into sharp pain, we may not be cast down or perplexed, but feel in our souls those supports and consolations, which the world cannot give, nor death itself take away.
Hear us, O Lord our God, in these our humble requests; forgive us our sins; and accept our persons, and our services, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A THANKSGIVING FOR THE RECOVERY OF A SICK MEMBER.
Most gracious and holy, good and merciful God! we have heard, we have seen, we have experienced thy love. Blessed, for ever blessed be thy name, that instead of being known to us by the judgments our sins have deserved, thou art manifested to us as the God willing to forgive all our iniquities. Thou hast delivered our eyes from tears, and our hearts from anguish. Thy servant, whom thou hast lately afflicted, is now a monument of thy sparing mercy. Thou hast chastised and corrected him, (or her) but thou hast not delivered him over unto death. Thou hast turned our mourning into joy, and our fears into songs of praise.
O may this thy servant have been spared in order to live hereafter to the glory of thy name.—We beseech thee, perfect all that concerns his recovery; and grant that this gracious interposition may properly effect both him and every one of us in this family. From henceforth may we all more entirely depend upon thee for the continuance and preservation of our dearest earthly comforts: may we consider them as thy free gifts, O Lord, and know that they alone makest every earthly blessing be to us what it is.
And give us grace so to use and enjoy all our temporal comforts, as those who know that the fashion of this world passeth away. Grant we may learn, from this late affliction in our family, to live more like persons who are soon to be separated by death, and to give all diligence to grow rich towards God, that we may be better prepared for a breach in our family whenever it shall come. And whensoever, O God, thou shalt be pleased to call any of us away, though for a season our family may thus be separated, may we all be united again in heaven, and be for ever with the Lord and with one another.
That we may none of us fall short of so glorious an end, O give us a clear knowledge of the excellency of our God, and a firmer dependence upon the word of thy grace. Grant us a strong love to the Lord Jesus Christ, and a greater resemblance of him; that each of us in our particular station may be zealous for God, full of mercy and justice towards men, and possess every temper whereby God can be glorified in us.
Fill our minds with a more cheerful and lively sense of our obligations to thee, especially for this late additional mercy: write it, we beseech thee, on our hearts, so that no temptation from without, or corruption from within, may make us ever act as if we forgot it.
And now, O Lord, we again present both ourselves and family, all we have and all we are, a lively sacrifice unto thee for all our remaining days. Be with us when we are passing through the valley of the shadow of death; may we then fear no evil, nor have cause to fear any. Guard us through the gloomy passage, and bring us safe to thine eternal kingdom and glory. We humbly ask all these blessings, though utterly unworthy ourselves of any notice, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who ever liveth to make intercession for us. Amen.
FOR THE DUE DISCHARGE OF DOMESTIC DUTIES.
O LORD and heavenly Father, who has commanded us concientiously to discharge each duty we owe one to another, take away, we beseech thee, from us all stubbornness, pride, and self-conceit; all envy, hatred, and ill-will, which would lead us to despise thy gracious restraints, and destroy that harmony which thou wouldest have to reign in every family. From the least to the greatest member of each house, give them grace to walk before thee unto all well-pleasing.
Teach and incline servants to do their work with singleness of eye, as unto Christ: to be ambitious of serving their masters with all fidelity, and of preventing all just cause of anger or rebuke from them for obstinacy, sloth, or carelessness. Grant them wisdom to consider their station not as any hardship, much less any disgrace to them, but as the post which thy fatherly love hath appointed them to fill. Give them to understand, to their great peace and strong consolation, that by doing their work from a principle of faith and love to Christ Jesus, they may stand as high in thy favour, and grow as rich towards God, as if their condition entitled them to all respect from the world. And may they never imagine they are religious and Christians altogether, any longer than they abstain from all those frauds and deceits which they are tempted to use for filthy lucre's sake.
Be merciful and gracious, O God, to all heads and governors of families. Save them from haughtiness of carriage, from passionate reproaches, and every kind of unchristian treatment of their inferiors and dependents. O! convince the rich that it is not their merit, but thy providence alone that makes the difference of station, and appoints the subordination: not that they should be as tyrants in their houses, and imperious to their servants, but that they should add to the comfort of those who are under them. Enable them, therefore, carefully to avoid hurting those who labour for them, by their frowardness, and behaving towards them with such rudeness, as they would be ashamed to shew to any equal. Imprint upon their minds a lively remembrance that they have a master in heaven, who is no respecter of the persons of men, before whom both masters and servants must give a strict and solemn account of their behaviour to each other. Inspire all who preside in families not only with justice, but with mercy and piety towards their servants. Like the good centurion, whose praise is in the gospel, may they sympathize with them in all their afflictions, be glad to alleviate their burden, when sickness and old age oppress them, and to sweeten the bitter cup that is appointed them to drink. Give them grace to teach their servants the fear of the Lord by their own example, and to let their light so shine before them, that they may be led to glorify God also, in whose hands is their breath, and whose are all their ways.
Dispose, O Lord, the hearts of all parents to receive and obey the commands addressed in a peculiar manner to them. Teach them always to regard their children as immortal souls intrusted to their care, and for whose nurture and admonition in the fear of the Lord they are strictly answerable; and may they esteem it their greatest pleasure, and their highest honour, to be teaching their children the sacred truth, when they sit with them in the house, and when they walk by the way, when they lie down, and when they rise up. Give them to observe with hearts sensibly affected, the natural depravity too apparent in every one of their offsprings, and to be solicitous to bring them by early discipline and instruction to him who alone can deliver from it. Make them vigilant to check the first sallies of their vile affections, to furnish them with the means of knowing God and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, and to habituate them from their childhood to some profitable employment of their time, and their understanding, as they are able to bear it. Keep all parents from setting a bad example before the eyes of their children, and so teaching them an evil lesson against themselves. And may they dread nothing more than the insupportable doom of being condemned as accessaries to the damnation of their own children by their worldliness, sensuality and neglect of their souls. And as thou knowest that no parents are of themselves sufficient to educate their children according to thy will, O! do thou fill them with wisdom and discretion. Guide them continually with thine eye, between the extremes of shewing a false indulgence or an irksome severity to the fruit of their own bodies. Bless altogether the relation thou hast established between them, so that parents may have the joy of seeing their children growing up as pleasant plants before thee, and children have reason to rise up and call their parents blessed, and to praise God for them in time and in eternity.
And thou, O God, so influence and form the minds of all children, and turn their hearts towards their parents, that they may behave towards them with all reverence, obedience and love; not stubborn when corrected for their faults, not heedless when instructed, not ungrateful to forget how much they are bound to administer to the comfort of their parents and to requit them. In an especial manner we beg of thee, O God, that we of this family, who are now kneeling before thee may be forgiven for Christ's sake, all the instances of which we have been guilty, of irreverence, unkindness, and passion one towards another. Make us sensible of our transgressions, heartily sorry for them, and more vigilant for the future. O give unto us, and every family, more of thy grace and power, that we may be of one mind, who dwell together in one house on earth; that at the last day, when we appear to take our trial at the bar of God, we may not be accusers of each other, for exercising any malevolence of temper, but witnesses of the grace of our common Lord in making us dwell together in perfect amity and Christian Love. Grant, O God, these our petitions, and let us all perceive the accomplishment of them by the increase of harmony, peace, and love amongst ourselves. We ask it for the sake, and through the intercession of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
UPON THE OCCASION OF A DEATH OR FUNERAL.
May all the appointments of thy providence, O Lord, be profitable to the souls of thy people. Visit the members of this house of mourning with thy favour, and let them know and feel, that thou art an all-sufficient help, in time of trouble. Knowing that we have no continuance in this life, but pass our days, as a tale, which has been told, may we act a wise and a worthy part, that we may find peace to our souls, in every time of review, and have good hopes in the prospect of the world to come.
Be as a Father to the fatherless, the protector of the widow, and the orphan's stay. Bless those who are intimately, and feelingly connected, with the present dispensation of thy providence, and according to the circumstances of their lot, grant them consolation. As the depth and the length of their sorrows have been, so do thou comfort them and wipe away their tears. By the sadness of the countenance may the affections become better, and the conduct improved, that the heart may be spiritually glad. Give them an interest in the blessings of redeeming love, and let the assurance of everlasting life pour joy into their afflicted souls. Forgive, O Lord, the manifold transgressions of those who mourn, and the multiplied sins of all thy children, and accept of us, and thy penitent people every where, according to thy mercies in Christ our Lord and Saviour.
FOR A SICK CHILD.
Almighty and most merciful Father, have compassion upon us in the day of trouble, and let this child live, by whose afflictions we are afflicted. Suffer not the hope of thy servants to be disappointed, but if death be in the cup, sanctify the dispensation, comfort the mourner, and receive the departing spirit into the fellowship of the saints on high. If life shall be prolonged, let gratitude prevail in the hearts of those, who are dearly connected, and let all diligence be given to train up the child, in the paths of wisdom and piety, and may every endeavour to promote a virtuous and holy life be successful, through Christ our Lord.
THE LORD'S PRAYER.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread; forgive us our tresspasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen.
GRACES FOR YOUNG PERSONS.
If said by an Individual, the Singular must be used instead of the Plural.
The eyes of all things wait upon thee, O Lord, and thou givest them their food in due season. Enable us to receive all thy blessings, with becoming affections of mind; and sanctify the present instance of thy bounty through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thy mercies, O Lord, are renewed unto us day by day, though by our sinfulness and disobedience, we are unworthy of thy favour. But do thou forgive our manifold transgressions, sanctify us in all our undertakings, and bless the offered mercies, through Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
We thank thee, O Lord, for the continued bounty of thy providence, and while our bodies are strengthened by their daily food, cherish our souls by thy heavenly grace. Forgive, we beseech thee, our numerous sins, and accept of our acknowledgments for this and every instance of thy goodness, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
We give thee praise, O Lord, for all the blessings of this life, and for the hopes of future glory. Accept of our thanks for every mercy we receive, and to thy name, through Christ the Lord, be ascribed the praise, now and for ever. Amen.