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Who hast made and conductest all thing's by the rules of thy most perfect wisdom and goodness. Although thy ways are oftentimes not to be comprehended by us, or by any of thy creatures, the most exalted !
We desire humbly to adore and acknowlege thy fatherly providence and care over us: that although thou seest it fitting to place thy reasonable creatures, in the beginning of their existence, in a world where pain and sufferings abound, for the exercise and improvement of their virtues, and thereby to advance them to higher degrees of happiness and of thy favour :
It hath pleased thee nevertheless to mitigate the unavoidable sorrows of this mortal state by planting kind affections in our breasts one towards another, which carry us out murually to succour and assist each other.
Teach O heavenly Father, to follow this thy heavenly leading which thou givest us in our very frame and constitution ; to feel another's woes, and to take pleasure in search- , ing them out and relieving them, to be ready to spread the comfortable light of thy truth to those that are in error and darkness, and
above all to strive to recover to thee those who are fast bound in heavy chains of vice, or guilty of base falsehood and dishonesty:
That we may be thy children, O thou Father of compassions, who, desirous of the happiness of all thy creatures, willing that any of them should perish, but that all may be saved ; and may approve ourselves the disciples of Jesus, who came to seek and to save lost mankind, and who spent his life in doing good to men's bodies, that he might better prevail to heal the worst disorders of their souls.
We thank thee, O God, for the hope that thou hast held forth to us, that in the next stage of our being, all dangerous trials and sufferings will for ever be removed from those who have improved their talents here, and faithfully and sincerely endeavoured to recommend themselves unto thee: and that evil and misery shall no longer subsist in thy works, O thou God of all goodness, till thy creatures shall be purified by them, and fixed before thee in confirmed habits and unchangeable dispositions of virtue and goodness. Help us duly to profit, in this short season of
our pilgrimage and trial, by these lights and assistances which thou hast afforded us by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Unto thee, who art the living and true God, be praise, thanksgiving, and increasing obedience by us, and by all thy intelligent creation for ever and ever!
And now, may the Lord bless
January 11, 1778.
MARK vi. 12.
And they went out and preuched that men should
The preceding passage of the evangelist gives an account of our Saviour's sending forth his twelve disciples in his lifetime; and by his authority from God investing them with extraordinary divine powers, to give credit to their doctrine as coming from God, and to make men to attend to it.
And he here concludes with informing us what their great errand was, and the doctrine they were to preach; “that men should repent.” It was indeed the chief subject of the preaching of John the Baptist the forerunner of our Lord, and of Christ himself. And also after his resurrection we find him declaring (Luke xxiv. 47.) that the great end of his mission, of his death and resurrection, was to give VOL. I.