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FORMS OF PRAYER,
Every Day in the Week.
THE Intention of the Collector of these Prayers was, first, to have Forms of Prayer for every Day in the Week, each of which contained something of Deprecation, Petition, Thanksgiving, and Intercession : Secondly, To have such forms for those days which the Christian Church has ever judged peculiarly proper for religious rejoicing, as contained little of Deprecation, but were explicit and large in acts of Love and Thanksgiving. Thirdly, To have such for those days, which, from the age of the Apostles, have been set apart for religious mourning, as contained little of Thanksgiving, but were full and express in acts of Contrition and Humiliation. Fourthly, .To have intercessions every day, for all those whom our own Church directs us to remember in our Prayers. And, Fifthly, To comprise in the course of Petitions for the Week, the whole scheme of our Christian duty.
Whoever follows the direction of our excellent Church, in the Interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, by keeping close to that sense of them which the Catholic Fathers and ancient Bishops have delivered to succeeding generations, will easily see that the whole system of Christian Duty is reducible to these five heads.
First: The renouncing ourselves: “ If any man will come after
let him renounce * himself, and follow me." This implies, first, A thorough conviction that we are not our own; that we are not the proprietors of ourselves, or any thing we enjoy; that we have no right to dispose of our goods, bodies, souls, or any of the actions or passions of them. Secondly, A solemn resolution to act suitably to this conviction; not to live to ourselves, not to pursue our own desires, not to please ourselves, nor to suffer our own will to be any principle of action to us.
Secondly, Such a renunciation of ourselves naturally leads to the devoting of ourselves to God: as this implies, First, A thorough conviction that we are God's: That he is the Proprietor of all we are, and all we have; and that not only by right of creation, but of purchase ; for he“ died for all :” and, therefore, died for all, that “they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them.” Secondly, A solemn resolution to act suitably to this conviction: to live unto God, to render unto God the things which are God's, even all we are, and all we have; to glorify him in our bodies, and in our spirits, with all the powers and all the strength of each, and to make his Will our sole Principle of Action.
Thirdly, Self-denial is the immediate consequence of this. For whosoever has determined, to “ live no longer to the desires of men, but to the Will of God,” will soon find that he cannot be true to his Purpose without “ denying himself, and taking up his cross daily.” He will daily feel some desire which this one principle of Action, the Will of God, does not require him to indulge. In this therefore he must either deny himself, or so far deny the Faith. He will daily meet with some means of drawing nearer to God, which are unpleasing to flesh and blood. In this, therefore, he must either take up his cross, or so far renounce his Master.
Fourthly, By a constant exercise of Self-denial, the true follower of Christ continually advances in mortification. He is more and more dead to the world, and the things of the world, till at length he can say, with that perfect disciple* of his Lord, “ I desire nothing but God;" or with St. Paul, “ I am crucified unto the world; I am dead with Christ: I live not, but Christ liveth in me.”
Fifthly, Christ liveth in me: This is the fulfilling of the law, the last stage of christian holiness: This maketh the Man of God perfect: He that being dead to the world, is alive to God, the desire of whose Soul is unto his Name, who has given him his whole heart, who delights in him, and in nothing else but what tends to him ; whọ for his Sake burns with Love to all Mankind; who neither thinks, speaks, nor acts, but to fulfil his will, is on the last round of the ladder to heaven, Grace hath had its full work upon his soul; the next step he takes is into Glory.
May the God of glory give unto us who have not already attained this, neither are already perfect, to do this one thing, - forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, to press toward the mark for the prize of our high-calling in Christ Jesus."
May he so enlighten our eyes, that we may “reckon all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord ;” and so stablish our hearts that we may rejoice to suffer the loss of all things, and count them but dung, that we may win Christ.”
A COLLECTION, &c.
ALMIGHTY GOD, Father of all mercies, I thy unworthy servant, desire to present myself with all humility, before thee, to offer my morning sacrifice of love and thanksgiving! Glory be to thee, O most adorable Father, who after thou hadst finished the work of creation, enteredst into thy eternal rest. Glory be to thee, O holy Jesus, who having through the eternal Spirit offered thyself a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, didst rise again the third day from the dead, and hadst all power given thee, both in heaven and on earth. Glory be to thee, O blessed Spirit, who proceeding from the Father and the Son, didst come down in fiery tongues on the Apostles, on the first day of the week, and didst enable them to preach the glad tidings of Salvation to a sinful world, and has ever since been moving on the faces of men's souls, as thou didst once on the face of the great deep, bringing them out of that dark chaos in which they were involved. Glory be to thee, O holy undivided Trinity, for jointly concurring in the great work of our redemption, and restoring us again to the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Glory be to thee, who in compassion to human weakness, hast appointed a solemn day for the remembrance of thy inestimable benefits. O let me ever esteem it my privilege and happiness, to have a day set apart for the concerns of my soul, a day free from distractions, disengaged from the world, wherein I have nothing to do but to praise and love thee. O let it ever be to me a day sacred to Divine Love, a day of heavenly rest and refreshment.
Let thy Holy Spirit, who on the first day of the week descended in miraculous gifts on thy apostles, descend on
me thy unworthy servant, that I may be always in the spirit on the Lord's Day.” Let his blessed Inspiration prevent and assist me in all the duties of this thy sacred day, that my wandering thoughts may all be fixed on thee, my tumultuous affections composed, and my flat and cold desires quickened into fervent longings and thirstings after thee. Olet me join in the prayers and praises of thy church with ardent and heavenly affection, hear thy word with earnest attention and a fixed resolution to obey it. And when I approach the altar, pour into my heart, humility, faith, hope, love, and all those holy dispositions, which become the solemn remembrance of a crucified Saviour. Let me employ this whole day to the ends for which it were ordained, in works of necessity and mercy, in prayer, praise, and meditation; and “ let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be always acceptable in thy sight.”
I know, O Lord, that thou hast commanded me, and therefore it is my duty, to love thee with all my heart, and with all my strength. I know thou art infinitely, holy and overflowing in all perfections, and therefore it is my duty so to love thee.
I know thou hast created me, and that I have neither being nor blessing but what is the effect of thy power and goodness.
I know thou art the end for which I was created, and that I can expect no happiness but in thee.
I know that in love to me, being lost in sin, thou didst send thy only Son, and that he being the Lord of glory, did humble himself to the death upon the cross, that I might be raised to glory.
I know thou hast provided me with all necessary helps for carrying me through this life to that eternal glory, and this out of the excess of thy pure mercy to me, unworthy of all mercies.
I know thou hast promised to be thyself my “ exceeding great reward.” Though it is thou alone who thyself 5 workest in me both to will and to do, of thy good pleasure.”