« ZurückWeiter »
The Clergyman's Adrice to his Parishioners. pray, as they ought, in that short and perfect form which is called the Lord's prayer. So ihat, however imperfect the prayers inay be which ye make yourselves, or which good and devout men may have made for your use, yet are ye assured that ye are provided with one prayer, in which all your wants are properly summed up, and which, it rightly offered, will not fail of meeting with acceptance. And this, (the Lord's prayer), at least may, and must be used, morning and evening, by every person, how poor and ignorant soever.
In the Lord's prayer ye address yourselves to Almighty God, who, through the mediation of His blessed Son, vouchsafed to be called your Father, and the common Father of all Christians, although ye worthily deserve to be punished for your sins, and to be utterly cast out of His favour. And although He is infinite and incomprehensible, and the whole universe is filled with His greatness, yet, because His glory is manifested chiefly in Heuren, and from thence is revealed to the children of nien, ye' are taught to call Him your Futher which is in Heaven.
Ye pray, or signify, that it is, above all things, your sincere and hearty desire, that as His Nanie (or His Being and Attributes) is holy, fearful, and glorious, so that it may be hallowed, that is, sanctified, reverenced and adored, by all men in every place, and throughout all generations for ever: that yourselves more particularly inay have your hearts cleansed,' and filled with Ifis grace : and that in all your thoughts, words and actions, ye may endeav. our to promote His honour and glory:
For the better accomplishment of this your sincere desire, yę pray, that God's kingdom may come ; that the knowledge of His holy nanje may be spread throughout the world ; that the dominion of sin amı satan may be entirely destroyed by the light of Christ's gospel; and that the blessed time may not be delayed, when ye, with all those who havá died in His faith and fear, shall be translated into His heavenly kingdom.
Ye pray, that in the mean while, God's holy will may be done on earth as it is in heaven. That is, ye declare, that ye are entirely resigned to all the dispensations of His good Providence; and are ready to do and suffer every thing which conuth of His divine appointment: that ye willingly and heartily submit to all the rules and methods by which He hath commanded you to walk. And although it may be impossible for you ever to attain to such a perfection of obedience in this present life, yet it is your sincere wish and desire, that yourselves and all men, throughout the whole world, were enabled to perforin the will of God with the same readiness and the same exactness as it is performed by the Angels in Heaven ; that the blessed Spirits, the Messengers of God, do speedily and cheerfully execute all His commands, so Bis faithful servants on earth (as far as the informities of their flesh will permit them) nay. constantly and gladly obey him in all things.
After thus professing that your chief concern is for the advancement of God's honour and glory, ye proceed in your petitions, by, begging of Him to give you this day your daily bread. Hereby ye humbly acknowledge, that all things depend upon His gracious Providence, that the eyes of all creatures look up to Him, who giveth them their mout in due season, and provideth thein with all things out of his bounteous liberality. Therefore ye beseech Him to give you also all the necessaries and conveniences of life ; which, although ye are allowed to call them your daily bread, are not yours of right, but come from the free bounty of God, and by His blessing upon your labours. Ye pray, that he would continue to bless your labours; that neither ye, nor your families, inay ever be in want of what He may judge necessary or proper for your support. And, by thus consessing that your whole reliance is upon His goodness and mercy, ye oblige yourselves to return Him all possible thanks; and praise for the manifold blessings which ye daily receive at His hands.
Further, ye beseech God to forgive you your trespasses, to blot out all your sins, and release you from the punishment of them, as ye forgire then that trespass against you: that is, although men's forgiveness of each other bears no proportion to the forgiveness they stand in need of from God, yet as it has pleased God to make this a necessary condition of your being forgiven, ye do humbly hope, that if ye are in perfect charity with all men, and do truly repent you of your sins, ye shall meet with pardon at the Throne of His Grace. At the same time, ye do hereby declare, that ye have no hopes of pardon,
The Clergyman's Adruce to his Parishioners. unless ye fulfil this condition, and do engage therefore to forgire others their Brespassés, so far as is consistent with God's 'laws, and the preservation of peace and order in the world,
But, lest you should meet with trials in this or any other respect too strong for you, ye beg of God not to lead you into temptation, but to deliver you from edil. Yė make it your humble request, that ye may not be seduced from your obedience, either by prosperity or afflictions; that, to whatsoever station of life it may please God to appoint you, and in whatsoever circumstances ye are placed, ye may (by the help of His grace) steadily pursue your duty, and do nothing unbecoming your Christian profession ; that ye may not be permitted to yield to the delusions of the flesh, the world, and the devil; but that ye may be strengthened by the Holy Spirit of God against all these your enemies, and being protected from their power, may pass the course of your lives with a conscience yoid of offence both toward God and man.
Finally, ye declare, that ye are firmly persuaded that ye ought to offer all your prayers and praises to God only; that ye do not, in any degree, trust in yourselves, or in any other creature, for the success of your petitions ;
but that God, and God alone, can and will (ye humbly hope) relieve all your wants, both spiritual and temporal ; for His is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. He is the absolute Governor of the whole universe, the Almighty disposer of all events; He can do whatsoever he pleaseth, and nothing is brought to pass in beaven or earth without His permission.
Ye conclude all by saying Amen. Whereby ye express your earnest cesire, that God would be pleased to grant whatsoever ye have asked ; and, at the same time, ye signify your humble confidence in Him, that through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, this Prayer of His blessed Son will be heard and accepted by him.
This then is the Prayer which our blessed Saviour has left for the use of His Church, and every particular member of it. So that it is impossible ye should err when ye address yourselves to God in this form of words, or in any form agreeable hereto. Let it be your constant care so to order your thoughts and actions, that ye may be always in a capacity of using it. l'or otherwise ye will provoke God's anger against you by your råshness and presumption, and bring a a curse upon yourselves instead of a blessing. Approach Him not, there fore, with this prayer, unless ye are sincere in your desires and endeavours, that yourselves and all mankind may be obedient to His will, and that his pame may be reverenced, and his glory exalted throughout the whole carth, See that ye do not entertain in your minds an absolute dependance upon any thing but the goodness of God for the relief of all your wants. Be ready tą forgive injuries, and omit no opportunity of doing good to all men. Trust not to your own strength, in the many trials and temptations incident to your mortal state: but be assured that it is God alone who can protect you from the enares of this world, and the subtilty, and malice of your ghostly enemy. Fi, pally, be persuaded that all power is in God only; that no evil can harin you without his permission, no good befal you but by his grace and favour; for he çuleth over all things for ever and ever, and as his authority has no bounds, $0 will his kingdom and glory never
have Thus have I set before you the whole duty of a Christian; putting you in remembrance of what ye ought to believe and do in order to be saved. It is my hearty prayer to God for you, that, by his grace, he would enable you to practise it in truth and sincerity. And I entreat your prayers for me also, that
may do the same; that if it so pleaseth God, we may niutually receive benefit from each other. This address I have made to the younger part of my parishioners, because, at your first setting out in the world, ye have need of a guide to direct you in tie right way; because you are not eintered, or at least not far gone (I hope) in the path that leadeth to destruction, and more par: ticularly, because ye live in dangerous times, when ye bave few good examples, but many, very many bad ones before you; and therefore are more liker ly to be seduced. I am sorry I have occasion to observe any thing which is to the discredit of the present age; but most certain it is, that, in every station of life, the manners of men are greatly corrupted. And not only so, but many seem to grow indifferent about the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and spine tone
The Clergynan's Advice to his Parishioners. have totally forsaken it. Who knows but God may put it into your hearts seriously to consider the present unhappy state of Christ's Church, and incline y ore to use your utmost endeavours to reform it? At least he may enable you to ors der your own lives as ye ought; and, by preserving you from infection in your younger years, it may so happen that the succeeding generation may be better than the present. This seems to be the only hope which is now left us; and for your own sakes, for the sake of mankind, and the sake of virtue and religion, and for Jesus Christ's sake, do not disappoint it.
Be strong and courageous, and dare to be good under all the present disadvantages of virtue and piety. 'Pursue no other pleasure but that of innocence, which alone can give you true satisfaction and peace of mind. Remember, that none but sincerely good Christians have a right to be cheerful. These are they who are commanded by St. Paul to rejoice in the Lord, always; and indeed every Christian's motto should be, Šerve God, and be joyful. Be therefore prudent, in regard to your best and dearest interest, your true pleasure here and hereafter. Forget not your obligations to him in whom ye live, and more, and have your being ; and let your thoughts frequently dwell on that lively hope of eternal happiness to which ye are begotten through Jesus Christ. Think with yourselves, that although ye may live many years, yet it is not impossible that ye may be cut off in a few days; that be your so long, yet they are really short, and will appear to you much shorter as they approach to an end ; that ye cannot therefore begin too early to be good, neither will it be safe for you to lose the present opportunity. Consider how many thousands there are, who, reflecting upon their past conduct, would give the whole world (if it was at their disposal) to be in your time of life. If they were suffered to begin their days again, how watchful would they be over themselves! How cautious of offending God in any one action, or thought! Every wilful sin they have formerly committed is now a viper in their bosoms, the sting of which leaves a smart not to beendured. The ́infirmities of old age are tolerable enough to them, but a wounded spirit who can bear ?. Yet such will be your condition, wretched as it is, if ye are guilty of the same folly, and tread in their steps. Learn from their examples to make a good use of the present time; and if ye are sensible (as ye must needs be) of their unhappy case, take effectual care, that one time or other, it may not be yours also. — How will ye condemn yourselves hereafter, if ye are so unwise as to lose the . present opportunity, which cannot be retrieved ? Ye will then reflect with sorrow upon your evil course of life, and stand amazed at your own folly in neglecting the good advice here kindly given.
ye continue wicked, consider, when the time of your departure out of this world shall draw near, which way will ye then look for comfort, or what will ye do to be at peace with yourselves? If ye turn your eyes upon your past lites, ye will find nothing there but what will give you grief and vexation. And, if
ye look forward, how terrible will be the prospect of God's anger, whom ye have so repeatedly offended. Remember, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. : But, on the other hand, a well-spent life, proceeding from early habits of virtue and goodness, will leave no room 'tó question the sincerity of your obedience, but will lay a foundation for a reasonable hope, that God will be favourable to you. Ye will have the pleasure of thinking that ye made it your first choice to do his Will, and were not compelled to it by your natural fears and apprehensions ; that ye kept your innocence, when ye were courted, bribed and importuned on all sides to part with it; that ye never entered into the service of sin, and therefore have no title to
But, in what language can I describe to you the joy and transport which attend the conclusion of a regular and good life? When the time approaches that shall be called upon to give an account to God, how will.it delight you to think that it has been your sincere endeavour to obey His Will? What pleasure will it be to reflect upon the dangers ye have escaped, the evil ye have forborn, and the good ye have done on that I had led a better life! is, and ought to be the wish of every man, good as well as bad, when he comes to die. But, whilst the old sinner reproaches himself with the neglect of every gluty, your consciences will bear you witness, that, from your youtk up, ye Mave endeavoured to fulfil the Commandments of God, Ilence will ye 'be en
The Clergyman's Advice to his Parishioners.
*]01 couraged to look forward also with a humble hope, that, through the merits of Christ Jesus, ye shall be accepted of Him. Death, it is true, is such á ‘change as ye cannot but be oftentimes thoughtful and solicitous about it: 'But remember, that the sting of Death is sin ; and, when Death is once disarmed, the terror of it is much abated. Good men, therefore, for the most part, die with perfect resignation of mind. Nay, we sometimes meet with instances of such as express great joy in the exchange of this life for a better. And
will do the same, if ye order your conversation according to my advice : "For, what can really harm you, so long as ye are at peace with God! Although your souls are to be separated from your bodies for a time, yet nothing can separate you from the love of God.' Ye cannot be removed beyond the reach of His
mercy and loving-kindness : That will follow you through every state, and uphold and comfort you in every change ye undergo. And when Christ, whois
your life, shall appear, ye shall also appear with Him in glory. It is your Father's good pleasure, little flock, to give you the kingdom. For there is lard up for you a crown of righteousness; which the Lord, the righteous *Judge, shall give you in that day, and not to you only, but to all them who love His appearing. And blessed be the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ; who, according to His abundant mercy, hath begotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for
SHORT PRAYERS FOR YOUNG PERSONS.
A PRAYER TO BE USED EVERY MORNING.
ALMIGHTY GOD, Igire Thee most humble thanks, for that Thou hast site this day, 1 beseech Thee, and also my relations and friends, from all evil accidents, and more especially from all temptations to sin. Let all my doings be ordered by Thy governance; and let me ever remember, that my most secret thoughts and actions are before Thee, und open to Thy sight. Grant that I may always walk in Thy fear, studying to serve and please Thee in all things; und having been protected by Thy goodness here, may be taken to Thy mercy hereafter, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer. Amen
OUR Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name; thy Kingdom come; thy Will be done in 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, forever and ever. Amen.
" A PRAYER TO BE USED EVERY NIGHT. O
preservation of me this day. I beseech Thee to pardon me in every thing wherein I may have offended Thee ; and to gire me Thy grace, that I muy necer do the like again. I thank Thee for all thy mercies rouchsafed unto me from the beginning of my life to this present time ; for my health, food, and raiment, and more particularly my friends and relations, thom i beseech Thee to bless and reward, for all their kindness and love. I commit myself to Thy gracicios protection this night; humbly begging, ihat Thy good providence may coniin ue always to watch over me. And grant, I may so order the whole course of, my life, that I may finally inherit thine everlasting kingdom, through the mera its of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer.' Amen. OUR Father, who art in Heaven, &c.
AT COMING INTO CHURCH. O LORD, pardon my sins, and receive my prayers ; and may thy Word, here delivered, make me wise unto salvation; Though Iesus Christ our Lord. Amer.
AFTER DIVINE SERVICE. O LORD, pardon the imperfection both of my prayers and praises ; and in cline me, not only to hear Thy Word, but to obey, the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
GRACE BEFORE MEAT. BLESS, O LORD, (we beseech Thee) this refreskment to our use, and a to Thy service; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
GRACE AFTER MEAT. FOR this, and all thy mercies, O GOD, we bless and praise thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
OF GOOD FRIDAY. THIS day received its name from the blessed effects of our Saviour's sufferfrom a sense of the guilt of the sins of the whole world, which drew upon our blessed Redeeiner, that painful, and shameful death of the cross.
The Gospel for this day, by the course just mentioned, falls upon St. John, which too is more proper, than any taken from the other Evangelists, because he was the only one, who was present at the passion, standing by the cross, while others fled ; his testimony, as an eye witness, and his example, not to fear, or be ashamed of the cross of Christ, should ever be remembered. The Epistle proves, from the insufficiency of the Jewish sacrifices, that they only typified a more sufficient one, which the Son of God did, as on this day, offer up. In imitation of Christ's love for us, in so suffering, the Church teaches us, in one of the Collects, to pray, that the effects of Christ's death, may tend to the salvation of all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics.
The Psalms for the day were composed by David, in times of his greatest calamity, and do most of them belong mystically to the crucifixion of our Saviour ; especially the 22nd, which is the first for the morning ; this was, in several passages, litterally fulfilled by his sufferings, and was recited by him, either in part, or the whole, when upon the cross.
The first lesson for the morning, is Gen. xxii. containing the account of Abraham's readiness to offer up his son Isaac, thereby typifying that perfect oblation, which was this day made by the Son of God. The second lesson is John xviii. The first lesson for the evening, contains a clear prophecy of the passion of Christ, and of the benefits the Church thereby receives: the second exhorts us to patience under sufferings, from the example of Christ, who sufe fered so much for us.
OF EASTER EVE. CHIS Ere was, in the antient Church, celebrated with more than ordigary.
devotion ; with solemn watching, with multitudes of lighted torches, making together a mixture of humiliation and magnificence. The day was a fast, and the Vigil continued till midnight; a little after which, it was supposed, by some, that the resurrection took place; and in the East, till cock crowing; which, by others, was supposed to be the crisis of that extraordinary event.
The Church of England, instead of these painful exercises, has provided for the devotion of her true sons, by advising us to fast in private, and by calling us together in public, to ineditate upon our Saviour's death, burial, and descent into hell; the Gospel treats of the two former and the Epistle of the latter,