Sunday, January 30, 2011
"What shall we render unto Thee, O God, for thy countless benefits, for days and weeks crowned with thy favour, for the means of grace and the hope of eternal glory! Thou hast dealt bountifully with us. Another Sabbath brings us tokens of infinite love. May it prove a Sabbath indeed, a day of rest from all harassing cares, a day of faithful self-communion and of fervent prayer. And when the sun sets in the west, may the Sun of righteousness still shine with steady, unclouded, life-giving brightness upon our hearts, and never set. May no earthborn thoughts obstruct its healing beams, but, enlightened by the truth, may we worship Thee this day in the beauty of holiness. Let not the world have power to intrude upon our meditations, and distract our minds and close them against thy gracious influence. Blessed be this day, thrice blessed, in the opportunities it offers, in the good resolutions it witnesses, in the strength it shall give us to meet all the coming duties and trials of life!
Father of all, Thou hast never left the world without witness of thyself. Thou hast always given men rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with joy and gladness. But Thou hast manifested thy providence still more expressively in the provision Thou hast made for our immortal nature. At different times and in various ways Thou didst speak unto the fathers by the prophets, raising up inspired men to turn thy children from their iniquities, to entreat them to forsake every form of sin, and saying unto them by the lips of thy holy servants, O do not this abominable thing which I hate.' And in the fulness of time Thou didst send thy Son Jesus Christ into the world, the brightness of thy glory, the very image of thy perfection. Through him Thou didst announce thine infinite good will, and throw wide open the way of life. He has shown us, by his life and his death, where lies our everlasting peace: even in lowliness of mind, in devotion to thy will and the good of all men, in a readiness to sacrifice all things, even life itself, for the sake of truth and right. The path of duty which he disclosed, blessed be thy name! is bright with the illumination of his steps. To us of this distant age and country, the precious records of his gospel have been transmitted. We praise Thee for its heavenly light, for its all-sufficient guidance, and its immortal hope.
What manner of love is this that we, heedless and unprofitable as we are, should be called to the rich inheritance of the children of God! O may we live as children of the light and of the day. May the power of thy truth penetrate and purify and mould our whole characters, quickening our sense of right, increasing our desire of goodness, until it becomes our ruling principle of action. Let us not flatter ourselves that we are Christians in thy sight, merely because we conform to the outward services of the Christian faith, but may we consider that they only are true believers who believe with the heart unto righteousness, and whose faith is shown by good works, works of justice and mercy. Whatsoever things are pure, honest and lovely — whatsoever things are true and just, may these things be ours. May we think on them and do them. Let our whole conduct be a religious service, our whole life a sabbath. To this end we invoke thy blessing on this day.
Let us not spend this holy season in stupid indolence, forsaking thy house, or entering it in mere conformity to custom. But may we bear in mind the greatness of the privilege we enjoy in being permitted to worship Thee according to the dictates of our own consciences, with none to molest us or make us afraid, surrounded by kindred and friends, mingling our hearts and voices with theirs. When we enter thy courts, may we leave all vain thoughts behind. May we listen with honest and well-disposed minds, applying the words of truth to our own souls, and feeling our own need, our own wants, deeply. Let thy house be to us an open gate of heaven, where we may catch the light of the unseen world, and hold communion with heavenly things.
We pray for our brethren of every order and denomination. May all enjoy the rest which this day offers. Let it not be abused into an occasion of selfish pleasure and of corrupting indulgence, but may men hearken to the strong cries of their immortal souls, to the wants of the mind and heart, and be fed this day with bread from heaven. Be this day blessed to the weary and heavy-laden. Let the name of Christ be sounded over the whole earth. Let all darkness vanish, and all chains be broken. Let the reign of the prince of peace commence. Drop down, ye heavens, and let the skies pour down righteousness, and let truth and goodness cover the whole earth as the waters cover the sea; and thine, O God, shall be the glory for ever. Amen."
Have a blessed Sabbath everyone
Posted by slt at 8:03 AM