The heavens declare Your glory, O God, and the firmament shows Your handy work. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge; and there is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. We behold displays of Your wisdom, power and goodness in all Your works, from the largest to the least.
But You have magnified Your word above all Your name; and we can never be sufficiently thankful for the revelation of Your will in the Scriptures of truth. We bless You that this sacred volume has been preserved, and translated, and published, and multiplied, so that we all have it in our possession, and can read in our own tongue the wonderful works of God. Here we see not only Your greatness, but Your grace; and not only Your pity, but Your rectitude; we see mercy and truth meeting together, righteousness and peace embracing each other. Here You have shined in our hearts, to give us the knowledge of Your glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
For in Him You have reconciled the world unto Yourself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. You have made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. You have raised Him from the dead, and given him glory, that our faith and hope may be in God. At the view of this infinite kindness, may we resign all our unworthy and suspicious thoughts; and placing our confidence in thee, return and say— Lord, I am Yours, save me. Look upon me, and be merciful unto me, as You have done in the past unto those that love Your name.
We ask not to be enrolled among the rich and the great of this world, but to be numbered with those who are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. The graves are ready for ns; and we shall soon be in a state, that will render it a matter of indifference to us whether we have filled a cottage or a palace—but it will be eternally important to us, that we have been justified by Your grace, and sanctified by Your Spirit, and adopted into Your family. May we, therefore, be wise unto salvation: and make it our present, our supreme, our persevering concern, to obtain those blessings which are spiritual in their nature; eternal in their continuance; satisfying in their possession; and which unerringly indicate that we are the friends of God.
Preserve us from a false estimate of the whole of our character, or any part of it. May we regard our principles as well as our conduct; our motives as well as our actions. May we never mistake the excitement of our passions for the renewing of the Holy Ghost. May we never judge of our religion by occasional impressions and impulses; but by our constant and prevailing disposition. May our heart be right with God, and our life such as becomes the gospel.
May we maintain a supreme regard to another and a better world, and feel and confess ourselves to be only strangers and pilgrims in this. How often by bodily infirmities and pains, by relative afflictions, and by dis-satisfactions growing out of every enjoyment —how often have we been taught that this is not our rest. Afford us, we pray thee, all the assistance we need while passing through the scenes of life. Give us, in large abundance, the supply of the spirit of Jesus Christ, that we may be prepared for every duty: that we may love thee for all our mercies; that we may submit to thee in every trial. May we trust thee when we walk in darkness, and have no light; and amidst all the changes of the present, and the uncertainties of the future, may our minds be kept in perfect peace, being stayed upon God.
Have You not made with us an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure? The very hairs of our head—are they not all numbered ? Are not all Your ways mercy and truth? Lord, we believe, help You our unbelief. And now unto Him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy: to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.
Book: Family Prayer Book, For The Use Of Heads Of Families: Designed More Particularly For Aged Persons
Author: Emerson Davis (Pastor of the Congregational Church in Westfield, Mass
Publisher: Springfield: Wood & Rupp. 1842