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IV.

Prayer when Oppressed by Difficulties

in Theology.

INFINITE and Eternal Being, whose nature and whose ways no finite mind can comprehend, thou seest how my frail reason is burdened, how my thoughts are oppressed, how my words are silenced, in meditating on thy decrees and dispensations, on the prevalence of evil, and on the prospects of human kind. O my Lord, these mysteries are too awful and too painful for me. Help me, I pray thee, to repose on the belief of thy divine perfection, who art supremely just and holy, merciful and good, and with whom all things are possible. Let me never forget or doubt that God is love: and great as may be the difficulty of reconciling the state and history of our race with that glorious and delightful truth, 0 give me strength to hold fast the invaluable declaration and supreme manifestation of it, and to believe that it shall at last be developed in all its cloudless and overcoming splendor.

Teach me ever to believe with the heart that fact which is the marvellous and crowning demonstration of thy essential love; that God so loved the world that he spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; that he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the

whole world ; that Jesus was made lower than the angels in order that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man; that he gave himself a ransom for all; that as the Lamb of God he taketh away the sin of the world; and let me not entangle myself in strifes of words and perplexities of speculation, which would restrict the largeness of this grace. Merciful Father, never may I forget that we know but parts of thy ways; that man's mind and man's systems are limited and dark, and that human hearts are deceitful and erring. O give me to believe that there is something beyond and above their view and mine, in the glory, efficiency and vastness, of thy great salvation. Let me cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of!

Save me and mine, I beseech thee, good Lord, from all fundamental and ruinous error, from all haughty and presumptuous reasonings, but specially from distrustful and despairing thoughts of thee, of thy glorious administration, and thy holy purposes. O grant me strength to believe that it is for wise and gracious reasons thou permittest me to be variously tried, perturbed and tempted, and peculiarly so at times, by pondering the high and surprising mysteries of thy procedure and decrees. O Lord, be pleased to extricate me from all trials, as they shall successively or together occur; and at present particularly from this arduous trial of faith. Give me, I entreat, that calm and happy confidence in thee which

may keep me at ease for fulfilling duty, allowing me to prosecute with renewed strength those endeavors which thy providence and grace alone can encourage and empower me to pursue. I ask all through the all-prevailing mediation of my Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

V.

Vrayer for Patience under Trials and

fears.

1

0 Thou who still leadest me in thy own dark, mysterious way, thou beholdest the doubts and discouragements which oppress my mind and weigh upon my spirit, and seest that I have no vigor and resolution to bear up against them. Yet, Lord, thou art able to bear me through. Help me, most merciful Father, to commit my way unto thee.

Thanks be to thee that thou hast ever taught me that it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O bring the blind by a way that he knoweth not; lead him in paths which he hath not known. These things do unto him, and forsake him not. Heavenly Father, new cares succeed the former; and thus will it be until I put off this tabernacle, and the pilgrimage of mortality is ended. O teach and strengthen me to meet them all with a more steadfast and sub

missive mind. Give me grace to remember that the period hastens on when these toils and conflicts shall be all forever past ; that thou meanwhile knowest my frame, and art acquainted with all my infirmities; and · while I feel that I can have no shadow of merit on which to ground a single hope, 0, let hope arise and augment in thy free, boundless mercy, through thy beloved Son; the delightful hope that, when the pains of time have ceased, that glorious Saviour will receive even me, who have been so unbelieving and so unworthy, with those most dear to me, into the rest which remaineth ; where we shall know perfectly how to serve him, and shall experience no inability, - no incompetence, no reluctance, to attempt and fulfil what we know. And now,

O God, make me docile under the discipline of thy providence; and if I walk in darkness and have no light, give me grace still to trust in the name of Jehovah, and stay myself upon my God. Thou

knowest, O Discerner of the heart, how little ability - I now have to act, how little capacity to pray, how many and great anxieties oppress me, and how liable I am by an unwatchful state of mind to render myself even less fit for contending with them; but yet, O gracious God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, thou canst still hold me up, thou canst bear me through. How often in past times hast thou said to the waves of trouble, Hitherto shall ye rise, but no further! How often have I had to say, Hitherto the

Lord hath helped me. Suffer me not to despond, but enable me patiently to wait and hopefully to confide, through my Saviour and Redeemer. Amen.

VI.

The Prayer to be said in the Begin

ning of a Sickness. O ALMIGHTY GOD, merciful and gracious, who in thy justice didst send sorrow and tears, sickness and death, into the world as a punishment for man's sins, and hast comprehended all under sin, and this sad covenant of sufferings, not to destroy us, but that thou mightest have mercy upon all, making thy justice to minister to mercy, short afflictions to an eternal weight of glory; as thou hast turned my sins into sickness, so turn my sickness to the advantages of holiness and religion, of mercy and pardon, of faith and hope, of grace and glory. Thou hast now called me to the fellowship of sufferings. Lord, by the instrument of religion let my present condition be so sanctified that my sufferings may be united to the sufferings of my Lord, that so thou mayest pity me and assist me. Relieve my sorrow, and support my spirit; direct my thoughts, and sanctify the accidents of my sickness, and that the punishment of my sin may be the school of virtue, in which, since thou

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