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SERM. in us, by which we can, of ourselves, turn

unto God: but, notwithstanding this, now that we have thus, according to thy will, confessed our infirmities, do thou, O Lord, of thy great goodness, have mercy upon us; spare us, according to thy most gracious promises to them who confess their faults; spare us, good Lord, and grant, o most merciful father, through the me: rits, and for the sake of thy dear son, that we may, for the time to come, lead a pious, just, and temperate life, such as may conduce to our own salvation, and to the glory of thy holy name. At the conclusion, the people, besides having joined in it audibly, shall say 'Amen,'which signifies, it is true; these are our real sentiments, the word expressing their hearty concur. rence with what has been said, and their earnest desires that their petitions may be granted. After this confession follows the absolution, which is said by the priest alone,

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and in this the people are not to join, but SERM. merely to be silently attentive; for on this occasion the priest stands in the place of Christ's ambassador, and declares to the people the terms of God's reconciliation with them, on their faith in his word, and on their repentance and amendment. The objection to this part of our service, as savouring of Popery, cannot with justice be maintained; for the absolution of the Roman Catholic priests are given in private, and to each individual,—whereas this is given in public, is conceived in general terms, and is perfectly agreeable to scripture, there being conditions annexed to it; the minister declares to the congregation God's forgiveness of their sins, but he expressly limits it to those who are peni. tent, to those who truly repent and unfeignedly believe his holy gospel. The absolution concludes with an exhortation, that we should beseech God to grant us this

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true

SERM, true repentance, and, in order to it, the

VII. w e assistance of his holy spirit; that our pre

sent employment may be pleasing to him, and the rest of our life so pure and holy, that through the merits of Christ we may finally come to his eternal joy..

Next follows the Lord's Prayer, which is repeated several times in the course of the service; but having already explained it in my discourses on the Catechism, I shall not dwell upon it at present. And now,, after having all joined audibly in the Lord's Prayer, which has been preceded by confession of sins, and by hearing the mercy of God proclaimed on certain terms, we go on to the Psalms, or to celebrating the praises of the Almighty. But that the transition may be the more natural, the minister prays that the congregation and himself may be enabled by God to perform the office, to which they are proceeding, in a propen manner: “Lord,

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** open thou qur lips," and the people an. SERM. swer “That so they shall be able to shew o " forth his praise.” These words are from the fifty-first Psalm, which is one of those in which David, oppressed by the sense of his guilt, dares not presume to sing the praises of God, before he had prepared himself for it by humiliation and repentance. The two' following sentences are likewise taken from the Psalms. “O God, make * speed to save us ;" “ O Lord make haste “ to help us;” and are aptly introduced on this occasion ; for it is at all times reasonable to pray to God to save us from sin, and to help us in performing our duty; it is more particularly sê, when we are about to perform so exalted an office as that of celebrating God's praises. All are now ordered to stand up; we read, that when the Priests' and Levites praised the Lord, all Israel stood: and we begin this good work by the sum of all the praises which

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SERM, true repentance, and, in order to it, the VII.

a ssistance of his holy spirit; that our present employment may be pleasing to him, and the rest of our life so pure and holy, that through the merits of Christ we may finally come to his eternal joy..

Next follows the Lord's Prayer, which is repeated several times in the course of the service; but having already explained it in my discourses on the Catechism, I shall not dwell upon it at present. And now,, after having all joined audibly in the Lord's Prayer, which has been preceded by confession of sins, and by hearing the mercy of God proclaimed on certain terms, we go on to the Psalms, or to celebrating the praises of the Almighty. But that the transition may be the more natural, the minister prays that the congregation and himself may be enabled by God to perform the office, to which they are proceeding, in a propen manner: “Lord,

“ open

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