BEFORE the mountains were brought forth, or before You had ever formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God. While the shining orders around Your throne prostrate themselves before You, with the most profound reverence and cry, Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come, we who are inferior intelligence’s —the degenerate sons and daughters of a fallen race, desire to come into Your presence, and adore the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy.
Almighty Father! we are beings of yesterday, but You are from everlasting; our days are as a hand-breadth, and our age is as nothing before You, but You are to everlasting. Yet we adore Your boundless benevolence, that, for us sinners, far removed from original righteousness and who have our habitations in the dust, which is crushed before the moth, and who all fade away as a leaf, not only peace and pardon, but life and immortality have been brought to light in the gospel of Your son. Glory be to Your name for our redemption from hell and the grave by the death and suffering of the Savior, and for the blessed hope that because He lives, we shall live also, and shall participate in the eternity of Your own existence, when the earth and the heavens are departed as a scroll and there is no more sea. We thank You that it is the glorious privilege of the redeemed of Jesus to know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens.
We thank You for all the means of grace appointed to fit us for immortality with You in heaven — for the gift of a Redeemer and for the guidance and comforts of the Holy Spirit. We thank You for Your divine word, for Your holy Sabbaths and for the institution of Your church, with its preached gospel, its blessed sacraments, its solemn ordinances, and its Christian fellowship. As we have been permitted to see the light of another Sabbath, grant, O Lord, that we may be in the spirit on Your Holy day, and that we may consecrate its hours to Your holy service. Go with us to the temple of Your earthly abode, and while Your word is preached give us the attentive ear and the obedient heart, and may a sense of Your presence make us feel that a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
Author of life and being, who alone has immortality, impress our hearts ever with the reality and importance of our eternal destiny. Amid the vain pursuits and illusive hopes of time, suffer us not to forget the pure and abiding joys of eternity. Under the burdens and disquietudes of our earthly pilgrimage, cheer and console us with the reflection, that our light afflictions which are but for a moment, will work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Son of God, by Your sufferings and death, elevate our thoughts to that inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and which fades not away, eternal in the heavens. Holy Spirit of Grace, win our hearts away from the world, and woo them to thyself and to the joys of eternity.
Eternal Father! teach us who are children of eternity, aspirants for another and a better world, that every day and every hour allotted us is a period of probation for our final change. Lord, enable us to make a wise improvement of every means of grace. Pardon all our sins, seal us now by Your spirit to the day of redemption, and at length administer to us an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Manual of Devotion or Religious Exercises for The Morning and Evening of Each Day in The Month For the Use of Schools and Private Families.
By N. C. Brooks, A. M., President of The Baltimore Female College.
Sixth Edition. New York: Published by A. S. Barnes & Co. Cincinnati: H. W. Derby & Co. 1855