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in secret prayer,
the Christian's great armour against sin and the world: sometimes the seasonable benefit and support, in treading the slippery paths of youth, derived from virtuous companions among whom our lot has been cast without any design of our own: at other times a no less timely deliverance and preservation wrought for us, in being casually kept out of the place and society where we were likely to be exposed to temptations too strong for our feeble powers : unexpected and unsought for checks and instructive adınonitions from books, from conversation, by visitations of sickness and adversity bringing us back to seriousness and sobriety of mind :
Whoever sees the gracious hand of divine providence, in the various circumstances and events of his life, leading him to the knowledge of truth as declared by Christ, thus attending, directing and warning him what to do and what to avoid (and he who sees not this, sees nothing), will readily and thankfully acknowledge that, if there be any thing holy or good in us, if we have any wellgrounded hope of the divine acceptance,
whatever we are, we are by the grace or favour of God ;-happy, if we may but continue to go
on to say, to the end of our course, with our apostle—that this grace or favour of God has not been given us in vain.
Give me leave, however, with this view of things and of man's true estate and condition before us, to conclude with this observation, that the truly pious and good, so far from assuming any thing to himself on account of his virtues, or claiming any reward for them, will think it a fit saying to be adopted by him at all times in this difficult world of trial, wherewith to express his just sense of himself before his Maker, “God be merciful to me a sinner!"
Unto God alone be glory, in all things, and for ever.
O Thou most tender and compassionate Father of thy frail and degenerate creatures, the inexhaustible fountain of all love and goodness!
Penetrated and overcome with the sense of thine infinite benignity towards us, which thou hast manifested by our Lord Jesus Christ, that thou desirest that all mankind may be saved, and intendest them for a happiness before thee for ever ;
We humbly implore thine assistance, that we may not forfeit this thy mighty kindness for us, or behave at any time unworthy of it.
Make us sensible, that thy great design in raising up and sending unto us the Saviour Christ with high powers from Thee, was to reform the world, and to recall thy children of mankind in every age from the ways of sin and ruin ; and impress it upon our minds, that the greater light and instruction, and motives and helps which thou hast afforded us by him in the way of our duty, were given with this intent, that Christians might be more holy and excellent than
And that we may be at liberty to follow thy truth, free us, we beseech Thee, from all undue love and regards to this world and the things of it, which take away all desire of improvements in virtue and the knowlege of Thee, in which lieth our true happiness. · But preserve us evermore from the impious thought of reconciling the hope of thy favour, O Thou most holy, with a life of vice and ungodliness ; lest Thou be provoked to withdraw thyself from us, and leave us to the c2
evil choice we have made and the darkness of our own minds.
Finally, 0 Thou God of all grace and goodness, fill our minds with a deep conviction of our nothingness and unworthiness before Thee : that not unto us, but unto thy preventing favour and kindnes3 is to be ascribed whatever is of good in us, as from Thee come all our powers, and the disposition to use them aright.
And let it never depart from us, that we can have no claim upon Thee of desert or merit for any thing that we are, or have, or expect; and above all, that thy gracious promise of eternal life by our Lord Jesus Christ is an instance of thy boundless munificent goodness which we can never acknowledge as we ought, but which will be a theme of joyful praise and thanksgiving to thy redeemed of the human race through the endless periods of revolving time.
Now unto Thee, O Father, who art the only living and true God, be glory for ever! The Lord bless us and keep us !
The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us! The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon us, and give us peace now and for evermore!
June 24, 1781..
John ix. 39.
And Jesus said; For judgement I am come into
this world: that they which see not, might see; and that they which see, might be mude blind.
This reflection and declaration of our Saviour's is full of serious and important instruction ; but to have a full comprehension of it, it will be proper to take a view of the preceding history, which gave occasion to it, which is related in the chapter from which it is taken.
It contains a recital of a very signal cure wrought by him upon a blind beggar, who
been such from his birth ; ascertained by a series of most undeniable evidence, and told in so natural and artless a way, as alone of itself to carry conviction along with it to the most incredulous, that it is a real representation of facts; it could be nothing but a representation of what really happened.