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gospel. And both the confession and absolution conclude with the word Amen! to be repeated by the whole congregation. Amen is a Hebrew word which expresses a strong af firmation, and which has been adopted into our translation of the Bible, and also into the Prayer-Book: and it is here used to signify our entire belief of, and assent to, what has been said.
The Lord's Prayer, which now follows, is, as I surely need not tell you, a short prayer enjoined by our Lord Jesus Christ himself to his disciples. A few short sentences follow, in which the congregation bear part alternately with the clergyman: and we have then a hymn of praise which is taken from the Psalms, and afterwards a portion of the Psalms which is appointed for the day of the month.
In this part of the service, if will apply your minds to it, you will find in almost every Psalm some passages which seem to speak particularly to yourselves, and to suit the circumstances which you happen to be in; for though these Psalms were written by
David to express his own feelings, and with a special reference to the events of his own life, they are yet applicable, almost from beginning to end, to us all. If we are blessed with the enjoyment of health and prosperity, we may say with David in the 103rd Psalm: "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." If the hand of affliction be upon us, we may exclaim in the words of the 86th Psalm: “Bow down thine ear, O Lord, and hear me, for I am poor and in great misery." "In the time of my trouble I will call upon thee, for thou hearest me." I might multiply instances without number of the same kind: but I will content myself with assuring you, that you will be fully rewarded for the diligent study of this part of the Scripture, by the treasure of wisdom and piety, of comfort in affliction, and of encouragement to virtue which it contains. There are some of the Psalms, I should add, which were not written by David himself; but I do not think that there is one in which there is not something which may compose our agitated minds under the pressure of sorrow,
and inspirit our progress in the path of our duty.
I will conclude for the present with the tenth verse of the 143rd Psalm; and may God in his mercy grant to each of us the grace to apply it sincerely and devoutly to our own hearts! "Teach me to do the thing that pleaseth thee, for thou art my God: let thy loving Spirit lead me forth into the land of righteousness."
"Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law.”Psalm cxix. 34.
WE left off last Sunday with some short observations on the Psalms; and we will now proceed to the subsequent parts of the morning service.
Immediately after the Psalms follow, though with a hymn interposed, what are called the lessons. These are two chapters, one from the Old, and the other from the New Testament, which the clergyman reads, while the congregation sit, and listen, it is to be hoped, with attention. Morning and evening lessons are appointed for every day throughout the year, and are ordered in such a manner that, by reading them regularly, almost the whole of the Old Testament may be read through once a year; and the whole of the New Testament, with the exception of the book of the Revelations, three times a
year. In this order the first lessons are always taken from the Old, the second lessons are always taken from the New Testament. I have also to observe to you that in the morning service the second lessons are taken from the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, which are read through in order; and that the second lessons in the evening service are taken in like manner from the Epistles. In the calendar which is prefixed to the PrayerBook all these lessons are thus classed for every day, each in its turn. But then again particular first lessons are selected for all Sundays, and for some other days which are marked for special observance, as Christmasday and Good Friday; and particular second lessons also are selected for a few of these Sundays and other days. The Revelations, as I have already said to you, and also the Apocrypha, are excluded from the general calendar; but still a few chapters of these books are appointed to be read on special
It is not my present object to dwell on the importance, and indeed the absolute necessity