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our souls, by the increase of His grace, and by our conformity to His Life and Spirit. But in order to this we need a season of preparation. The business of the world, or the inattention of our own hearts to spiritual things, produces a sleep and forgetfulness. And if we are to be raised from this torpor, if we are to receive strength, so as to be free from sin, and to overcome our enemies, we must go to the source of grace.
This source or fountain is open to us at all times, but especially at those seasons when we recall the great mysteries of our Redemption.
In this, for instance, of Advent, which represents to us our Blessed Redeemer's coming to us, as He entered the Virgin's Womb, to bestow on us all the glorious effects of His Incarnation and Birth; He is at hand to pour upon us the riches of His grace, and this grace includes all that is necessary for our salvation and perfection.
It is pledged to us, moreover, as the Members of His Body. That grace which heals all wounds, and is the cure of all spiritual diseases; that grace which reforms and changes our hearts; that grace which stamps upon our souls the image of GOD in Christ, and fills us with His Divine SpiRit; that grace by which we are not only called, tut made the sons of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; that grace is the blessing which is now offered to us all.
But to obtain such riches our hearts must be rightly disposed. The greater our faith and humility, the more abundant will be our supplies. Awake, then, my soul, at the call of thy God and Saviour. Draw nigh to Him, and He will draw nigh to thee. Invite Him to enter in and dwell with thee, that He may make Himself Master of thy will, thy affections, and all thy powers.
O happy is he in whom this indwelling of God is established.
O Lord Jesus, let me be one of these happy ones. Come now, and take possession of that which is Thine own.
O Thou, Who art rich in mercy, and Who lovedst me when I was dead in sins, quicken me by Thy Spirit, and raise me up to that participation of Thy Divine Nature, whereby I shall see Thee now by faith, and hereafter face to face!
But, Lord, who am I that I should thus call upon Thee to come to me? Have I not done this before, and then basely turned away from Thee? O how many Advents have I trifled with—how many have come to me in vain! But spare me yet awhile. I tremble at my past sloth and indifference. But I purpose, by Thy gracious help, to be
more earnest this Advent, and to redeem my lost time, as far as I may.
O let it be to me a season of preparation, of deep and lasting penitence! O open my eyes that I may see! O wash me more and more in Thy precious Blood, that I may be clean!
"As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the Sons of God." But, Lord, who art Thou that I may hope thus to receive? The Father of the age to come—the Everlasting God —the Prince of Peace: and O that my heart could look up with love and gratitude proportioned to Thy condescension! O that it could go forth to meet Thee with glowing affection, and ready to offer itself freely and unreservedly to Thee! But at least I will endeavour to remove all impediments, and will neglect no means by which my heart and soul may be meet for the reception of my Blessed Saviour and Deliverer, my Lord and my God.
O Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, behold I Thy creature, made after Thy Image, and redeemed by the Blood of Thy Well Beloved, appear before Thee, my Creator; by Whom and for Whom I was created; by Whose grace I have thus long lived; unto Whom henceforth, so long as Thou seest good, I would wish to live; for Whom and in Whom I desire to die: I meekly adore Thee, Whom my soul desireth and strongly panteth for: to Thee I cry, Whom above all I love, O Thou, my liest, my Hope, my Love, my Longing, my heart's only Good.
Most loving Father, though I be the least of all Thy children, yea, unworthy to be called Thy son, because I have not honoured Thee as my Father; yet I come with great confidence, and cast myself into the Arms and Bosom of Thy most sweet Love and Mercy, grieving from my inmost soul, that I have ever forsaken Thee, my God, the Fountain of all good; and I resolve with my whole heart and strength to return to Thee, and so to serve Thee, and cleave to Thee, that I may never more draw back from Thee, but may be faithful to Thee, even unto death, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Only-Begotten Son, Who art in the\ Bosom of the Father;
Well-Beloved Son of God, in Whom the Father is well pleased;
Wisdom, set up from all eternity;
Image of the Invisible God, Whose Name is above every name;
Who upholdest all things by the word of Thy power;
Beginning of the Creation of God;
First-born of every creature;
First-born among many brethren;
Heir of all things;
Star risen out of Jacob;
Lion of the tribe of Judah;
Rod of Jesse;
Son of David;
Son of Man;
Jesus of Nazareth;
Meek and humble of heart;
Shepherd and Bishop of our souls;
Who didst come to preach the Gospel to the poor;
Light of the world;
Man of sorrows acquainted with grief;
Lamb of God, That takest away the sins of the world;
Have mercy on us.
Raise up, O Lord, Thy power, and come; and what Thou hast promised in