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you strive to please him! How would you be grieved, if
you should be so unhappy as to offend him! How soon and earnestly would you beg his pardon, to be restored to his favour !
Now, if you thus love God, it will appear in such instances as these: you will have a very great regard for everything that belongs to Him : you will not use His Name to
purpose: you will religiously observe the day consecrated to His honour and service : you will carefully attend the house and worship of God, and behave yourself with reverence and devotion, while you are in His presence. You will hear His Word with attention, and have a great regard for His ordinances, and for the persons whom He hath appointed to administer them.
If you truly fear God, you will part with anything as dear as a right hand, or a right eye, rather than provoke “Him who can destroy both body and soul in bell.”
If you believe Him to be the Fountain of all good, you will pray to Him daily. And if you put your whole trust in God, as it is your duty to do, you will endeavour to be pleased with all His dealings with you. You will never murmur at the ways of His providence, nor suffer your heart to fret against the Lord. And especially you will never attempt to better or to secure your condition by any evil ways; believing assuredly, that God can and will make you full amends in the next life, for what you want or suffer in this, in submission to His will.
Lastly, your duty is to be thankful to God. The way to be so is, to look upon every mercy you receive as the gift of God; every danger you escape, as owing to His care and providence; every good thought, every good purpose, every occasion of doing good, as the effect of His good Spirit.
Think, and act, and purpose thus; and it will be as natural to thank God for all the dispensations of His providence, as it is for you to beg any blessing from Him, which you stand most in need of.
Stop awhile, until you have considered these things, and until you have expressed your sense of them in the following prayer :
The Prayer. This is indeed the first and great command, “to love Thee, O God, with all our heart; for on this depends our salvation. But even this must be the gift of Thy grace. For this grace
I now apply to Thee, to make my love and fear of Thee the governing principle of my whole life; that I may always do what I believe will please Thee; that I may carefully avoid what I know will offend Thee; and that I
may having Thee the constant witness of my thoughts, words, and actions.
Give me a stedfast faith in Thy Word and promises ; a firm trust in Thy power. Let the fear of Thy justice keep me from presumption, and a sense of Thy goodness from despair. Defend me from all those bewitching snares which destroy our love of Thee; from worldly cares ; from all sensual and sinful pleasures; from evil company;
from foolish diversions; and from everything that
may make me forget, that Thou alone art worthy to be feared and loved. Grant me these mercies for Thy Son Jesus Christ His sake; whose love and death we are going to commemorate. Amen.
Your duty to your Neighbour and Yourself.
require the most solemn resolutions you can make, before you go to the Lord's Supper.
Consider, therefore, whether you can sincerely resolve as follows:
I dare not, I will not, be indifferent how I lead my life. I know what God has commanded me, and I purpose sincerely to do it.
I will, in the first place, be obedient to the lawful commands of my superiors, and especially to those who “watch for
soul.' I do sincerely purpose, in all my dealings, to remember the command given me by my Saviour; “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”2 And therefore I will make a conscience of doing the least wrong to any man; of using any deceit, or fraud, or oppression; or of taking advantage of the ignorance, mistakes, or necessity of my neighbour; knowing assuredly, that he who
(1) Heb. xiii. 17.
(2) Matt. xxii. 39,
wrongs his neighbour, does the greatest injury to himself. And if at any time I am convinced that I have done him any wrong, I will make him satisfaction as far as I am able, without being forced by law "to do unto others what I would they should do unto me.”1
To this end I will endeavour to live peaceably and charitably with all people ; avoiding all malice and revenge, and evil-speaking and contention, as much as possibly I can. And I will speak truth at all times, and especially when I am called to my oath, whether it be for, or against, my worldly interest.
As TO THE DUTY I OWE TO MYSELF.-I am convinced that my first and great concern ought to be, to take care of my own soul.
I do therefore stedfastly purpose to lead a serious life, as one under the sentence of death ought to do: to be sober, temperate, and chaste; that when I die, I may be admitted into the paradise of God, where no unclean thing must enter,
To this end, I resolve to keep a watch over
(1) Matt. vil. 12.