« 上一頁繼續 »
short-sighted'creatures, it will at last unfold itself in. a perfect consistent Whole, whose invariable object has all along been the greatest good of Thy whole Family; and thus will open a new scene to make them forever happy in the contemplation of such boundless Love and Perfection.
Thou hast 'portioned out Thy gifts and favours in various degrees among Thy creatures. To me* Thou hast given the noble Faculties of Reason and Understanding." Thou hast made me but a little lower than the Angels, and crowned me with Glory! Honour and Inmortality.” Thou tookest'me from the womb, and hast tenderly preserved and provided for me to this very moment. Thy unwearied patience has borne with all my failings; and Thy overflowing Love has even loaded me with undeserved favours and advantages.
But what language can speak Thee as Thou art? Thy goodness towards me rises far above all expresŝion; far above all thought. When I had štrayed from Thee, and was sunk in ignorance, Thou Thyself vouchsafed to speak to me, rising up early and speaking Thou didst also send Thy Servants the Prophets, rising up early. and sending them. Last of all, Thou sentest the Son of Thy Bosom, with his holy Apostles, to save me from merited destruction; to restore my ruined nature; to instruct me in my duty, and guide me to endless rest. “ How precious. are Thy thoughts unto me, O my God! How great is the Sum of them! If I could count them, they are more in number than the sand on the Sea-shore!"
* Me, in the first person, is here put for the human species.
2. All this, O heavenly Father, I know Thou art; and all this I know Thou hast done for me! 2. Truths But when I inquire, in the next place, what
I myself am, and what I have done in return; alas! my conscience tells me, that I have not always considered and acknowledged Thee as being what Thou art. I have often counterworked Thy gracious purposes towards me, and sinned against Thy Holy and Equitable Laws. Forgetting my high preeminence and prerogative of Birth, I have often perversely abused, or ungratefully neglected the proper use, of those noble powers with which Thou hast crowned my nature. My iniquities have taken hold of me so that I cannot look up. They are more in number than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart faileth me.” Yet still, when I reflect on Thy paternal Love, my hope is in Thy mercy, through the Redeemer, “ That Thou wilt hide Thy Face from my sins, and blot out all my transgressions.”
In this sacred hope, I humbly prostrate myself before Thee, sincerely confessing my repeated trespasses, earnestly imploring Thy forgiveness of them, and stedfastly purposing, as far as in me lies, to amend my future conduct and life.
Look down then, O Thou First and Best of Beings! From eternal splendours and glories unutterable, look down with compassion on a sinful, but penitent Creature, humbled in the dust! For Thy dear Son Jesus Christ's sake, save me from the consequences of mine iniquities. Pardon what is past, and vouchsafe me the aid of Thy Holy Spirit to lead me through all future trials, in the steady exer
cise of those virtues, Moral, Divine and Social, which in the course of my researches, assisted by Thy Spirit and Revealed Will, I have discovered to be my Duties, towards Myself, towards Thee, and towards my Fellow Creatures.
THE PRACTICAL PART OF CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY,
1. With regard to Myself, may I, for the future, practise the great virtue of Temperance, and pre7, 1. Petitions serve my body chaste, as the Temple of of private Mo- the Holy Ghost. May I discipline my ral Duties, re. Passions and regulate my Affections specting one's
aright, that so I may never be subjected to inordinate desires and violent commotions of Soul; but pass my time in Tranquillity, Sobriety, Frugality, and Industry.
And may I always remember, that my care is to reach beyond my body to my better part. Hence, may I strive, above all things, to improve the Divine faculties of Reason and Understanding; employing them, according to Thy design, as the means of searching and knowing the Truth, and conducting myself towards my true Happiness. And whatever acquisitions of knowlege, I may through Thy. Aid attain, may I never be puffed up; but refer all to Thee, and in all my researches be self-diffident, from a sense of the extreme scantiness of the highest human attainments.
Yet, O my God! while in the pursuit of true knowledge, I abstain from sinful pride, on the one hand; may I also, on the other, abstain from a narrow despondent undervaluing of those powers which
Thou hast given me, even in their present impaired state. For though they are not the highest 'in the Scale of Being, neither are they the lowest; but are, indeed, noble, when considered in their proper place, and with regard to their proper end. . There is some- . thing grand and august even in the present fallen state of human nature, which 'speaks its Almighty Author; and those must grovel beneath their rative destination, without exerting their strength, or jaspiring at any thing that is generous, elevated or greatly good, who have not a just sense of this grandeur—May I have a just sense of it, and reverence my Nature! May I consider myself as Thy Image, and strive to act up to my dignity in the humble įmitation of Thy Divine Perfections.
To dispose me to do this, may I look deeply into myself, and frequently employ my thoughts at home. May I attentively listen to the still voice of a wells informed conscience, which is Thy vicegerent within
What it warns me not to do, may I ever sedulously fly from, however dear; and what it dictates to be done, may I ever resolutely achieve, however hard!
2. With regard to Thee, O my God! may I make it the chief aim of my life to discharge the Duties of
Piety and grateful Praise. May I always 2. Petitions for the practice acknowlege Thee to be, what Thou art, Duties respect the Sovereign Object of all Love; for ing God.
surely there is nothing that can satisfy the human Soul but Thee. When I stray from the Love of Thee, I find within myself a frightful Void, and Nothing of solid happiness to fill it up. All my
powers are dissipated with false hopes and falso fears; nor can I support the lingering torment of society with myself. But when I return to Thee, sighing and thirsting after Thy Divine Fellowship, my Soul is abundantly satisfied, and filled with in- : born Tranquillity and Joy in the Holy Ghost. Nothing can disturb its Peace, while it feels. Thy Pre. , sence, exults in Thy Favour; and, in all things, , quietly resigns to Thee, who art infinitely Wise to contrive, Good to incline Thee, and Powerful to . execute what is best for me in the whole
O, then! may I always love and obey. Thee, with out the least murmuring or distrust; and consider whatever befals me now, as meant to discipline and prepare me for future happiness. May I bear every thing with Contentment, Fortitude and Equanimity; neither too much elated or dejected at any thing whịch this earthly scene, can give or take away, since : I am not qualified to judge of the tendency of things in the whole.
Give me a lively Faith in Thy promises, and save me from all irreligion and profanation of Thy Holy : Name; for Thou art the All-seeing Governor and tremendous Judge of the world, and wilt not hold them guiltless who profane or neglect the awful reverence of Thy glorious attributes-May I never neglect it, and never forget the worship and grateful praises which are due to Thee, both in private and public; for I can never be without a prompter!
All Thy works, with unceasing voice, echo forth Thy wondrous praises. The splendid Sun, with the unnumbered orbs of heaven, through the pathless