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PRAYER FOR A DIVINE
pleasure, though in the midst of pain; and wealth in the midst of worldly poverty. He that knows thee and loves thee, though he die of want and hunger, is infinitely richer and happier than the king who rules the widest empire, but knows thee not. Thou art our only happiness, yet have we not sought good in thee. Thou art our bliss, yet have we bid thee depart. Thou hast the first and most reasonable claim upon our hearts, yet by nature those hearts are shut against thee. But if thou hast blessed him that indites this prayer, with the knowledge of thyself, bless those who may read or utter it with the same heavenly knowledge. Great God, thou only knowest what is man.
A fallen miserable wretch; a wilful child and slave of sin; a deserving heir of wrath and woe. Thy heavenly pity has opened for him a way of life, but how few are they who find it! and, ah! no hand but thine can guide the sinner into that peaceful path. Hard is the heart thy goodness does not melt - no rock so hard. Cold is the heart thy kindness does not warm no ice so cold. Yet, alas! great God, such is naturally every human heart. Such was his, whom thou hast inclined to write this little volume; and such his who reads it. But thou hast power to soften the rock, and melt the ice, and change the heart; and hast thou not the desire ? Merciful Maker, hast thou not sworn, “ As I live I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live ?” Thou hast said, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all
ends of the earth;" and thousands, now in glory, have experienced thy saving pow
The feeblest instruments can in thy hand
BLESSING ON THIS BOOK.
15 perform the mightiest works. A pebble and a sling can bring down to the dust thy proudest foe. Now then, compassionate God, display thy power to save. 'Grant that all who read this book may yield to its persuasions, and earnestly regard their best concerns. By feeble instruments thou hast awakened many a thoughtless heart; and if this be the feeblest of the feeble, yet magnify thy power and mercy by making it to one soul (0, might it be to many!) a solemn and awakening call. Let some of its readers learn the end for which life was given; and 0, let them not sleep the sleep of sin and death, till awakened by judgment and destruction ! Gracious God, teach them that life is not given to be trifled and sinned away. By the power of the gospel, subdue the stony heart, and break the rock of ice. With a voice, effectual as that which shall wake the dead, bid the dead in sin arise and live. Bid the young sinner, that may read this volume, flee from the wrath to come. “O, let not sin and death resist thee!" Let not Satan successfully oppose thee. Let not the stubborn heart refuse thee admittance. But, God of mercy, by thy conquering Spirit, make this little book, which in itself is feeble as a reed, powerful to lead to penitence, prayer, and conversion, some youthful wanderer from the paths of peace. Othou who pitiest wretched men, teach the young readers of this book
to pity themselves! Let them not by sin and folly make even immortality a curse. Let them not despise thy gracious calls, nor trample on thy dying love. Over them let not hell rejoice, and heaven mourn; but let the angels that dwell in thy presence, and the saints that sur
16 PRAYER FOR A DIVINE BLESSING ON THIS BOOK.
0, let the intercession of the Saviour obtain it! O, let the influences of the Spirit accomplish what is thus desired! for, blessed Lord, it is here devoutly acknowledged, that, without that Spirit, “ books are senseless scrawls, studies are dreams, learning is a glow-worm, and wit is but wantonness, impertinence, and folly.” And O may it seem meet to thy divine Majesty, to grant, that when the author of this book has finished his course, that then, though dead, he may yet speak in the following pages; and continue to call on the young to "remember their Creator in the days of their youth !" If this be a sinful ambition, compassionate God, for Jesus's sake, forgive it; but if it be a desire which thy Spirit has produced in the writer's heart, for Jesus's sake grant the request.
Bestow thy Spirit, O God of love! Bestow those blessed influences, O thou Saviour of mankind, who hast received gifts for men! Bestow them, O Father and Lord of all, and bring some youthful sinner to the feet of thy crucified Son! Though it be but one, grant that one may go to him for life. But 0, again permit the petition, that if it please thee, the persuasions and motives for early piety here presented to the young, may be effectual to the conversion of many; and that many who shall read them may be led to Jesus, and be found to have their names written in the book of life, when time shall have
PRAYER FOR THE READER.
17 erased every name that is written even upon rocks below.
And now, O God of grace, hear this supplication, and teach the young reader with sincerity of heart, to join in that which follows. Grant this, great God, for his sake who died on Calvary below, who lives, and reigns, and pleads for man above; and whose is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and for ever. AMEN.
§ 3. A PRAYER FOR YOUNG PERSONS, IMPLORING THE
DIVINE BLESSING UPON THEMSELVES WHILE READING
Great God, thou seest me, a young and thoughtless creature. Young as I am in years, yet far have I gone in sin. So far that thou mightest justly have said with respect to me, “Cut down that cumberer of the ground;" and had that dreadful sentence been long ago pronounced and executed, I must have owned it just. My years are few, but my sins are many; more numerous are they than my days or hours, more countless than the hairs of my head. Alas! blessed God, what a part have I acted! I have received life from thee, and employed it in neglecting, and sinning against thee. I might have died at my birth, have seen the light and closed my eyes in death, but thou didst watch over me in infancy, didst guard me in childhood, and hast brought me to the blooming days of youth; and how have I requited thee? Wretch that I have been to requite thy love with ingratitude, thy goodness with neglect
, Distracted creature that I have been, to spend
PRAYER FOR THE READER,
the flower of my years in grieving thee, my best friend; in pleasing Satan, my infernal foe; and in undoing my own immortal soul. O, make me sensible of my sin; teach me to bewail and loathe my folly; and help me to forsake it! Now let me begin to live that life, which on a dying bed I shall wish to have lived. Merciful God, thou hast spared me in mercy; let me not appear to have been spared in vain; but let my life, which has been too long
spent without thee, now be devoted to thee. Pour out thy Spirit on me, for he alone can teach me what thou art. Give me to thy Son, and thy Son to me. Thou art permitting me in this little book to read a serious invitation to early piety. Teach me to regard the truths I read; and
I read them with a devout and attentive mind. May the persuasions and motives here presented to me, reach my heart; and may I, when I reach the conclusion of this book, be no longer the thoughtless creature I have hitherto been; but may I be found to have chosen that good part, which none can take away. But, ah! great God! what am I that I should speak of reaching the conclusion even of this little book! Though I have read its first pages, I know not that shall live to read its last. Young and vigorous as I may now be, perhaps, before I can reach its end, my time may be finished, my eyes closed in death, and my soul called to meet thee, my long neglected and much injured God. O then, teach me to be wise without delay! Teach me what religion is, and enable me to choose it as my portion. Teach me what I am, and lead me to Jesus Christ, thy once crucified but now exalted Son. O, make me thine! O