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PRAYER FOR A PENITENT, have wasted on frivolous books, while thy blessed word has been neglected! The hours I have squandered in trifling conversation and foolish mirth, while not one word of my Redeemer, or thee, or thy goodness, has dropped from my lips.
Thou, O Lord, hast commanded me to hallow the sabbath ; but, I have wasted many of those sacred days. When thy children have been reaping immortal good ; I have been heaping up wrath against the day of wrath. Those blessed seasons, which might have been a foretaste and a preparative for an eternal sabbath in thy heav. enly courts, even those to me have been days of thoughtlessness, sin, and folly. Or, if I have gone to thy house ; yet, how often have pride, vanity, and worldly pleasures filled my thoughts, even there, and I have departed from thy sacred courts, unmoved by thy terrors, uncharmed by thy love. When I look back upon my sabbaths, what a dismal blank do they appear!
To thee, O Lord God, belong mercies and forgiveness, though I have rebelled against thee. Thou hast not been in all my thoughts. By my ungodly life, I have said to thee, “ Depart from me, for I desire not the knowledge of thy ways ;" and though thy beloved Son, once crucified for my sins, has claimed my heart, I have refused to listen to his call. And, yet, I have deceived myself; have deemed myself almost innocent; have thought my life righteous; and treated humble piety with contempt and scorn. True wisdom I have counted folly, and folly pri, zed for wisdom. Merciful Lord, my lips, my tongue, my eyes, my ears, my hands, my head, have all sinned against thee; but, Oh, my heart the heart I deemed good, what madness has
PRAYER FOR A PENITENT. dwelt there! There hidden lay the seeds of every sin. There have those corruptions abode, which hell takes pleasure in viewing, but which heaven must mourn to see. There anger has burned. There pride has swelled. There envy and revenge have rankled. There vanity, indolence, discontent, ingratitude, and all the detes. table brood of human vices, have shown their hateful forms. There too has reigned love for the present dying world, that love which leads a legion of iniquities in its train. And shall I now plead, that I am innocent ? Shall I now declare, that my beart is good, and my transgressions few ? Merciful God, forgive the blindness which deluded me with thoughts like these. No, O my injured Father, the smallest sin against thee is huge as the frowning precipice, dark as the shadow of death, and horrid as the depths of hell; and the smallest of my crimes have been as much committed against thee, as the more profligate actions of some, who never enjoyed the mercies with which I have been favoured. O my God, as a sinner, I would cast me at the feet of Jesus! I cannot hide my guilt from thine eyes; let me not hide it from my own. Thou hast seen all my sins, hast called on me again and again, and hast beheld the world and Satan preferred to thyself. Surely love like thine might have melted a rock of adamant; yet, it melted not my heart. Canst thou yet show mercy? Thou dost! O wonderful love! shall I abuse it still ? 0, rather may my pulse cease to beat, and the warm blood to flow through my veins! Lord, lead me to the rock that is higher than I! Lead me to the atoning blood, which washes all sin away. Lead me to Christ crucified. Forgive,
RELIGION NÈBDPUL TO ALL for his dear sake, the past; and 0, give strength and grace for the future! I have lived long enough, alas, too long! to the world, to Satan, and myself; now let me live to thee. Now, for Jesus's sake, guide me from sin to holiness; from folly to wisdom; from death to life; from vain delight to real joy; and, finally, through the Lamb that was slain, advance me from earth to heaven, there to praise, bless, magnify, and adore redeeming love, through ages without end.
O gracious Lord, hear my requests, for Jesus's sake. - Amen.
TIE NATURE OF REAL RELIGION BRIEFLY DESCRIBED.
- That religion is the chief concern of all, is: the declaration of the Most High ; and early religion is what he solemnly requires. “Remember, now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil'days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” It is as much as if it were said, “Mind religion while you are young. Let that engage your earliest care. · Let that possess the first place in your heart; for it is worthy of it. · In the days of your youth, those best days, prepare to meet your God. While young, make him your friend; seek an enduring mansion in the skies; and thus, to every other source of cheerfulness, add those last and best, your heav. enly Father's care, and your gracious Saviour's love." The blessed Redeemer, who spake as nel
Eccles. xii. l
BUT, REGARDED BY FEW. ver man spake, affectionately declares the importance and value of real piety. “One thing is needful.” “What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul p»
Most persons will acknowledge the excellency and importance of religion; yet, few are its real friends. “Few there be that find it.” MaDy are entirely careless of it. Others have the form without the power. Others play the hypocrite's part; they “speak fair words and act foul deeds, lift their eyes to heaven and turn their steps to hell." Religion is not, like many worldly advantages, a blessing that descends from parents to children, from heir to heir. The child of the most pious parent is, by nature, as destitute of the dispositions which constitute religion, as the child of the most profligate. It is not, like the endowments of body or mind, as wit, beauty, strength, a blessing that we naturally possess; for, the dispositions of the mind, by nature, are altogether opposite to those of religion. Nor is religion a blessing that can be acquired without opposition and difficulty. The command of Christ is, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate." These words import, contending in the most resolute and earnest manner, and, as it were, forcing a way through whatever may oppose.
§ 2. Many, my young friend, are the sources whence this opposition arises. The corruptions of your own heart will oppose the entrance of divine truth into your soul. The false and deceiving opinions of the world would teach you, to look on real religion as enthusiasm, and to treat it with aversion and contempt. The evil Spirit, Ibat great enemy of God and man, by every de.
Luke, x. 42. Mark, viii. 36. Matt. vii. 14. Luke, xiii. 23 .
NATURE OF RELIGION. Jusion which he can present to your mind, will be endeavour to prevent your submitting to Jesus Christ; and often but too successful are his exam. ertions. “The god of this world hath blinded in the minds of them which believe not; lest the percent light of the glorious gospel of Christ, should be shine unto them.”
And now, while I endeavour to describe to my you what religion is, let me beseech you to unite your prayers with mine, that you may indeed be taught of God; and let me beseech you to attend as seriously to the plain and affectionate delle truths, that may be presented to you, as you when would do if lying on a dying bed, and there ! earnestly inquiring how salvation might be mc. found.
§ 3. Religion consists in such a practical knowledge of our own guilt and misery, as lead this us to abhor sin and ourselves; and in such as acquaintance with the blessed God, and the adopt rable Saviour, as leads us to believe on Jesus for salvation, and resting all our hopes upon atonement and righteousness, to trust our eles nal all to his care ; and to yield up ourseiros body, soul, and spirit, to the Father as our ther, to the Son as our Saviour, and to the y ly Spirit as our Sanctifier.
§ 4. The foundation of religion is laid in knowledge of our own guilt and depravity., 4 sickness teaches the patient to prize the phys cian's aid; as slavery leads the captive to see the for liberty; and condemnation makes the crio nal cry for mercy: So the knowledge of the day own condemnation and guilt, prepares the one for the reception of Jesus Christ. Are you down
2 Cor. iv. 3, 4.