Time how swift.

While with ceaseless course the sun
Hasted through the former year,
Many souls their race have run,
Never more to meet us here
Fixed in an eternal fate,
They have done with all below;
We a little longer wait,
But how little—none can know.

As the winged arrow flies
Speedily the mark to find;
As the lightning from the skies
Darts, and leaves no trace behind;
Swiftly thus our fleeting days
Bear us down life’s rapid stream;
Upwards, Lord, our spirits raise,
All below is but a dream.

Thanks for mercies past receive,
Pardon of our sins renew;
Teach us, henceforth, how to live
With eternity in view:
Bless thy word to young and old,
Fill us with a Savior’s love;
And when life’s short tale is told,
May we dwell with thee above.

– John Newton, The Olney Hymns (1779), p.317

The Holiness of God

The holiness of God is a perfect and unpolluted freedom from all evil.
As we call gold pure that is not embased by any dross, and that garment
clean that is free from any spot, so the nature of God is estranged from all
shadow of evil, all imaginable contagion.

As there is no darkness in his understanding, so there is no spot in his will:
as his mind is possessed with all truth, so there is no deviation in his will
from it. He loves all truth and goodness; he hates all falsity and evil. In
regard of his righteousness, he loves righteousness (Psalm 11:7); “The righteous
Lord loveth righteousness,” and “hath no pleasure in wickedness” (Psalm 5:4).
He values purity in his creatures, and detests all impurity, whether inward or
outward.

He is as necessarily holy, as he is necessarily God; as necessarily without sin,
as without change. As he was God from eternity, so he was holy from eternity. he
was gracious, merciful, just in his own nature, and also holy; though no creature
had been framed by him to exercise his grace, mercy, justice, or holiness upon.
If God had not created a world, he had, in his own nature, been Almighty, and
able to create a world. If there never had been anything but himself, yet he
had been omniscient, knowing everything that was within the verge and compass
of his infinite power; so he was pure in his own nature, though he never had
brought forth any rational creature whereby to manifest this purity. These
perfections are so necessary, that the nature of God could not subsist without
them.

– Steven Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God, pp
527-8

First Day Evening: The Teacher

First Day Evening: The Teacher

O God,
We bless thee,
our creator, preserver, benefactor, teacher,
for opening to us the volume of nature
where we may read and consider thy works.
Thou hast this day spread before us the fuller pages
of revelation,
and in them we see what thou wouldest
have us do,
what thou requirest of us,
what thou hast done for us,
what thou hast promised to us,
what thou hast given us in Jesus.
We pray thee for a conscious experience
of his salvation,
in our deliverance from sin,
in our bearing his image,
in our enjoying his presence,
in our being upheld by his free Spirit.
Let us not live uncertain of what we are,
of where we are going.
Bear witness with our spirit that we are thy children;
And enable each one to say, ‘I know my Redeemer.’
Bless us with a growing sense of this salvation.
If already enlightened in Christ, may we see
greater things;
If quickened, may we have more abundant life;
If renewed, let us go on from strength to strength.
Give us closer abiding in Jesus
that we may
bring forth more fruit,
have a deeper sense of our obligations to him,
that we may surrender all,
have a fuller joy,
that we may serve him more completely.
And may our faith work by love
towards him who died,
towards our fellow-believers,
towards our fellow-men.

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From ‘The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions’
Arthur Bennett, Editor