Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

necessities and wants. Especially we commend to Thy favorable and compassionate regard all who are in circumstances of affliction and distress. Remember in mercy the poor and the needy; the desolate and the oppressed; all such as are in any danger, whether by sea or land; and all who are called to suffer, whether in mind, body, or outward estate. Show pity upon all widows and orphans; upon all prisoners and captives ; upon all sick persons, and upon those who are drawing nigh to the gates of death. Let the afflictive dispensations of Thy providence, in whatever form, be so accompanied by the grace of Thy Holy Spirit, that they may work out in those on whom they are sent, the peaceable fruit of righteousness to the praise of Thy glorious name. Grant unto all such, O most merciful Father, power to take refuge in Thy holy covenant, and to humble themselves truly under Thy mighty hand; that it may please Thee to lift them up in due time, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our Father who art in heaven, &c.

FOURTH FORM.

O Thou most holy and everlasting God, Almighty Father of angels and of men; with all the heavenly hosts, who surround Thy throne and perpetually worship Thee, with all the spirits of the just made perfect, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs; the whole catholic Church, in heaven and on earth, would we, unworthy as we are, unite in rendering and ascribing, as is most justly due, all glory, honor, might, majesty and dominion unto Thee, the only living and only true God.

Thou art the Creator of all things, visible and invisible; the Maker of our bodies and the Father of our spirits; the fountain of all life and blessedness; the Giver of all our mercies. We bring Thee our humble tribute of thanks for Thy great goodness. We thank Thee for life, health and strength, and the innumerable common blessings, which we enjoy so richly at Thy hand, though we sin against Thee. But above all gifts

of nature, we would never cease to remember, with the deepest gratitude, the unspeakable gift of Thine only begotten and well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, whom Thou didst send from the throne of Thy glory, into our lost and miserable world, to become an everlasting Saviour unto all them who put their trust in Him. We thank Thee for His incarnation, His life of suffering, His miracles and divine teachings, His bitter passion on the cross, His resurrection from the dead, His ascension to Thy right hand, His prevailing intercession, the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and the establishment of the Christian Church, with all her great and precious means of grace.

And yet, in view of all these mercies, we would confess, 0 God, our Father, that we have sinned against heaven and in Thy sight and are not worthy to be called Thy children. We have sinned against light and knowledge. Members of a fallen race, we do by nature the works of iniquity. We deserve only Thy wrath and curse. There is no health in us. But, blessed be Thy holy name! there is yet mercy with Thee that Thou mayest be feared. Have mercy, therefore, on us, O God, according to Thy loving kindness; according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies, blot out our transgressions. O Thou Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, take away our sins. Purge us from guilt and pollution. Wash us in Thy blood and we shall be clean. Give us penitent and contrite hearts, and clothe us with the robe of Thy righteousness, that we may rejoice in Thee, the God of our salvation. Enlighten the eyes of our understanding that we may learn to know Thee aright. Reign in us and rule over us, and bring every thought and feeling into complete captivity to the obedience of faith.

O Thou holy and eternal Spirit, who workest mightily through all space and all time, be pleased so to give power to the ministrations of Thy grace and so to order the events of Thy providence, that they may work together for our good, that becoming more and more closely united to our blessed Lord, we may be able to keep up a successful conflict with the powers of evil in ourselves and in the surrounding world, and

at last attain, with all saints, unto the resurrection of the just and the joys of Thy heavenly kingdom.

O Thou holy and adorable Son of God, to whom all power in heaven and on earth is committed for the sake of Thy body, the Church, we heartily beseech Thee to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing upon her. Plentifully endow Thy servants, who minister in holy things, with the gifts of Thy grace, so that they may rightly dispense Thy word and sacraments unto all the people, to the strengthening of their faith in Thee and the increase of love toward all men. Heal her divisions and strifes. Bind together her true members more and more with the bands of a never

failing charity. Preserve her safe from heresy and schism. Confound and defeat the machinations of her enemies, and hasten the coming of that day, when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Thee to be Lord to the glory of God, the Father.

0 Thou, who art the King of kings and Lord of lords, grant, we pray Thee, unto all the rulers and magistrates of this great nation, a spirit of wisdom and godly fear. Give us just laws and let them be justly executed. Restrain the violence of the wicked, and pardon our national sins, that we may escape Thy righteous judgments and live out the rest of our days in the peaceful enjoyment of Thy favor. Have mercy on the oppressed and broken-hearted. Be a father to the fatherless, the widow's stay, and the stranger's guide. Prepare the dying for death, and impart the consolations of Thy heavenly grace unto all the sons and daughters of affliction and sorrow. Bring back wanderers to Thy fold. Touch the hearts of impenitent sinners. Increase the number and holiness of Thine own children, and confirm all baptized persons by Thy grace and spirit, that, amid the trials and tempations, peculiar to their years, they may grow up into the stature of perfect men in Christ Jesus, and gain, with us all, the crown of everlasting life.

All these things we ask in the name of Him, who hath taught us to pray unto Thee, saying:

Our Father, &c.

ART. III.-SOME OF OUR POPULAR AMUSEMENTS.

We are uttering a very common truism when we say that amusement, in one form or another, is demanded by a deepseated necessity of our nature. Man must have some enjoyments, or the mechanism of his being will get out of joint, if not stop entirely. His organization, both physical and mental, is exceedingly complicated, and its healthful action depends in no small measure upon the alternate action and rest of its different parts. Just as it is more tiresome and exhausting to walk a day's journey upon a perfectly level road, than upon one variegated with hill and valley, so it is exhaustive of any nature to keep it perpetually stretched to its utmost tension in one direction; and if kept so it must prematurely snap and break. Besides the ordinary repose of sleep, man needs relaxation, diversion, recreation, in order that all the vital forces of his nature may recruit their strength and gather vitality for the functions demanded of them. The wasting power of strenuous and long continued effort, or the sluggishness and imbecility induced by no effort at all, must be counteracted by the exhilirating and invigorating play of those powers of our nature which are called into action through the medium of the tastes and sensibilities; and which might be called the light fingered artisans whose office it is to heal the breaches, and restore the lustre of the wondrous city of Mansoul. Moreover, a certain measure of excitement, or stimulus, is not only desirable but often necessary to restore the flagging organs of thought or of effort. All these things are iucluded in the general idea of amusement, and make it thus a necessary condition of our human existence. It will be seen at once, too, that the form of the amusement must be determined largely by the employment, and the prevailing type of character. The relaxation must be in the direction opposite to that of the tension; so that what is amusement for one may not be for another, and what is labor for one may be recreation to another. Walking a mile is relaxation to the traveller on horseback, whilst riding the same distance is rest to the pedestrian.

But these general principles being admitted there is room for the widest diversity in their application to actual life; and at many points of their range they must be modified to prevent their infringement upon physical and moral laws. In no other department of man's life is the sad fact more apparent that human nature is fallen and disordered, than in the sphere of his amusements. In this case, as in almost every other, that which was designed for man's health and pleasure, has become a snare; and amusement is made the channel through which flows food for the most sensual passions, and morbid cravings of the depraved heart, and the vitiated tastes. Hence the amusements of a people are a proper subject for statutory restriction ; and to exempt them entirely from such restraints would be as absurd as to remove all similar restraints from the proclivities to vice and crime. The recreative powers of our nature, holding a legitimate and God-assigned place, connected as they are with more or less of excitement and enjoyment, are made, under the foul touch of sin, to develop the most hideous and monstrous results. Accordingly we find that the scale of amusement, in every nation, ranges from the most exquisite and thrilling gratifications of a pure and cultivated taste, down to the coarsest and most brutal forms of sensual excitement. A nation's amusements, moreover, may be taken, universally, as an exponent of their civilization and their moral cultivation. A nation's amusements are according to the current of their life. They are as the pulse by which you can detect the morbid or healthful tendencies of the body politic. If they are refined and elevated in their character, they indicate a high grade of mental and moral cultivation. If they are low and sensuous and vulgar, they indicate the predominance of base and grovelling elements in the national character. If they are licentious and viciously fascinatiаg they in

« AnteriorContinuar »