Exodus xx. 11. In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day, and hallowed it.
It is a good thing, O Lord, to give thanks to You,—to sing praises to Your name, O You Most High,—to show forth Your loving-kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night.
But most of all, it is becoming and pleasant to offer up the sacrifice of thankfulness on this day which You have consecrated to Yourself; and to unite the feeble accents of human praise with the songs of those angelic hosts who for ever surround Your throne, and who glorify Your name, for Your eternal and unbounded loving-kindness.
Worthy are You, O Lord, to receive blessing, and honor, and glory, and praise: for You have created all things, and for Your pleasure they are and were created.
I look back this day, Creator of the heavens and the earth, to that hour when Your Spirit moved upon the face of the waters. When the waters were gathered into one place, that the dry land might appear, —when the sun began to enlighten the day, and the moon and stars to shine by night, —and when this earth, fresh from Your creating hand, was replenished with all living and moving things. This magnificent abode which You have destined for man. Surely, O Lord, it was only a purpose of mercy that could have prompted You to exert Yourself in behalf of Your creatures; and it becomes all Your children to acknowledge Your goodness with ceaseless songs of wonder and of gratitude.
Blessed be Your name, that Your loving-kindness was not confined to the act of creation; for You still continue to breathe, with the spirit of love, over the works which You have made; and there is not a movement of the universe, nor a moment of my life, that does not testify of Your parental care and ever-watchful providence.
I believe, also, O God, that this is not the last scene on which Your perfections are to be displayed. For I have been instructed to look for a new heaven and a new earth, when all sublunary things shall have passed away,—and I believe that a period is approaching to those who do Your will, when this corruptible shall put on in-corruption, and when this mortal shall be clothed with immortality.
Blessed be the name of God, that, to keep up the sense of all that he has done and is yet to do for mankind, he has been pleased, from the earliest ages, to set apart this day of recollection and of rest. Surely, O Lord, You are ever mindful of the works of Your hands. You continue Your care for man and for beast,—and when they are wearied with the labor which You have ordained for them, You have appointed to them a season on which they may repose from their toils, and taste that tender mercy which is over all Your works. Grant, O heavenly Father, that my soul as well as my body may this day repose from all vain and worldly anxieties, that the calm of this Sabbath morning: may diffuse itself over all my thoughts and feelings, and hopes, and that, throughout the day no thought or emotion may be awakened within me but such as is well-pleasing in Your sight.
This, O Lord, is the day which You have appointed, not only for rest, but for devout contemplation; and this day I desire to meditate on all Your works, and on all Your wonderful ways towards the children of men. Enable me to see Your perfections in every thing that surrounds me upon earth,—to adore Your wisdom, and love, and power, as they are displayed by the things which You have made; and, considering this universe as a temple dedicated to Your glory, and man as the priest whom You have consecrated to Your service, may it be my study at all times so to order my life, that, in all that I think, and wish, and do, I may offer to You an acceptable sacrifice, through Jesus Christ, Your Son.
Grant also, O Lord, that this day may ever be viewed by me as an earnest of that greater Sabbath which shall never end: may my soul be this day filled with a firm belief and with a delightful anticipation of that eternal life which You have set before all those who do well their part in time,— and with this hope in me, may I study, at all times, to purify myself as You are pure,—that, finally, I may be qualified to be the associate of those blessed spirits who have always delighted to do Your commandments.
For this purpose, O Lord, send this day Your good Spirit into my heart, for I feel that of myself I am not able to think or to do any thing which You can approve. I feel, O God, that I am dead in trespasses and sins,—that my imagination is unholy, and my heart hard; and that I carry about with me a body of sin and of death. O send forth Your light and Your truth,—let them lead me and guide me, and bring me to Your holy hill, and to Your tabernacle,—may they inspire a new life into my heart,—and, by their operation, may my soul and body be made a temple fit for the habitation of the Holy Ghost.
Make me joyful this day in Your house of prayer. May my praises and thanksgivings ascend as sweet incense from Your altar,—and may my heart be opened to hear what God the Lord will speak to me, Forgive, O heavenly Father, my former imperfections in public worship,—cast me not away from Your sight, because I have presumed to tread Your courts with unhallowed feet; but may the remembrance of my past failures strengthen me for a more zealous and perfect discharge of my duty in all future times.
Hasten the time when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea,—when the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the rose,—it shall blossom abundantly, the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon,—when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard lie down with the kid, and the calf, and the young lion, and the fading together, and a little child shall lead them;— and when there shall be nothing to hurt or to destroy in all Your holy mountain.
Put an end to cruelty and crime over all the earth; may rational liberty, and pure religion, and liberal knowledge every where prevail; and by their influence may the time soon come when men shall live every where as fellow-servants of the same God, and fellow-heirs of one blessed immortality.
Grant that where the religion of Your Son is already established, it may be more and more purified from all error and vain superstition; may it gradually attain nearer to that perfection in which it was preached by him who came in the name of the Lord to teach and to redeem me; and may brotherly love and Christian charity every where unite those who acknowledge their relation to one Saviour and one God, and who hope, when all the darkness and imperfections of time are past, to be associated together in the eternal felicities of Your heavenly kingdom.
Hear, O heavenly Father, these my earnest prayers, and answer me in mercy, for the sake of him whom You nearest always;—and to whom, with You, O Father, and the blessed Spirit, be ascribed all glory, dominion, and praise, world without end. Amen.
Book: The Morning and Evening Sacrifice or Prayers for Private Persons and Families (9th Edition)
Published by: Oliver & Boyd, Tweeddale Court; and Simpkin, Marshall, & Co., London 1837
Revised & Edited by: Karrol 2014