Project Canterbury

Tabella Sacra. Vacation 1840.

By William Augustus Muhlenberg.

No place: No publisher, [1840].




ANOTHER vacation has come round and I present you with this annual token of my desire that you spend it well. I hope that a part of your time will be given to the improvement of your minds, either in study or such useful reading as requires attention. So large a portion of the year, as two whole months, should not be suffered to pass away in mere amusement. It would be a sinful waste of time. The object of the holidays as a season of recreation, will not be hindered by some application of the mind, but rather promoted by it, for you would tire of pleasure alone, and fall into habits of indolence which are inconsistent with true enjoyment. Commit something to memory every day, and for this purpose I recommend your Sacra Latina. The facility you have acquired in memoriter exercises will thus be retained, and so valuable a habit of mind not injured by the vacation.

Keep good company. Be afraid of associates of doubtful character, however agreeable their society; and wherever you are, never be ashamed of your principles.

Continue the practice of reading the Holy Scriptures as a stated morning and evening duty, and in this if you follow the Tabella you will have the satisfaction of reading the same portions at the same hour with many, I trust, of your companions. I pray you make a conscience of this, as also of your private devotions. For these have a certain hour. Consider what time will be most convenient; Set that apart and never use it for any other purpose. In this way you are most likely not to omit your prayers, which without such an appointed [1/2] time, will often be postponed for other matters and perhaps neglected altogether. It is a good exercise to write prayers for your own use. Compose them with great care and try to improve them from time to time.

We shall continue to hold the voluntary meetings on Friday Evenings at half-past seven o'clock, during August, and at seven during September. I am particular in mentioning these hours hoping, you will be particular in observing them. It will be a very encouraging thought for us to know that our pupils scattered far and wide over the country, are with us in heart and spirit praying for us, while we are praying for them. This has been the case for a number of years, and many at the end of vacations have told us of the benefit and pleasure then derived from it.

Do not indulge the idea that the vacation allows any interruption of religious duties. They are not mere school matters--but the duties of all times and all places, and therefore allow no vacation.

Take care how you spend Sunday. Beware of yielding to the indulgences of the world, which even among Christians are apt to encroach on this hallowed day. Attend your own place of worship. Do not run about after new preachers. Reverently unite in the service, kneeling and responding, and using the Prayer Book at the proper times.

Employ whatever opportunities you may have of doing good. You will meet with distress and suffering, which should call out your Christian sympathies, and afford them that exercise which your situation here scarcely allows.

Examine yourselves often in the fear of God, in the light of his holy word; Remember that in his favor is life, and his loving kindness better than life.

May HE continue to bless us, and bring us together again in due season.

For myself and your Instructers,

Affectionately your Friend,


St. Paul's College, Aug. 1, 1840.



Daily Lessons for Private Reading,




1. Luke 2. v. 1-40.
3. Matthew 2.
4. Luke 2. v. 41-52, and 3 v. 1-22.
5. Luke 4 v. 1-36.
6. Luke 5.
7. Psalm 51. Matthew 5 v. 1-12.
8. Luke 7 v. 1-35.
10. Luke 7 v. 36-50, and 8 v. 1-21.
11. Luke 8 v. 22-56.
12. Luke 9 v. 1-27.
13. Luke 9 v. 28-62.
14. Psalm 51. Matthew 5 v. 13-26.
15. Luke 10 v. 13-42.
17. Luke 11 v. 1-36.
18. Luke 12 v. 1-34.
19. Luke 12 v. 35-59.
20. Luke 13.
21. Psalm 51. Matthew 5 v. 27-37.
22. Luke 14.
24. Luke 15.
25. Luke 18 v. 1-30.
26. Luke 19 v. 12-48.
27. Luke 20 v. 1-25.
28. Psalm 51. Matthew 5, v. 34-48.
29. Luke 21.
31. Luke 22 v. 1-34.


1. Luke 22 v 35-71.
2. Luke 23 v. 1-32.
3. Luke 23 v. 33-56.
4. Psalm 51. Matthew 6 v. 1-15.
5. Luke 24 v. 1-34.
7. John 21.
8. Acts 2 v. 1-41.
9. Acts 4 v. 1-32.
10. Acts 5 v. 1-32.
11. Psalm 51. Matthew 6 v. 16-25.
12. Acts 9 v. 1-31.
14. Acts 20.
15. Acts 26.
16. Romans 8 v. 16-39.
17. Romans 12.
18. Psalm 51. Matthew 6 vv. 26-34.
19. 1 Corinthians 15 v. 1-22 and v. 51-58
21. 2 Corinthians 5.
22. Galatians 5.
23. Ephesians 6.
24. Colossians 3.
25. Psalm 51. Matthew 7 v. 1-14.
26. 1 Thessalonians 5.
28. 2 Timothy 2.
29. Hebrews 12.
30. Hebrews 13.


1. 1 John 2.
2. Psalm 51. Matthew 7 v. 15-29.
3. 1 John 3.



2. M. Psalm 19. Mark 4 v. 1-34.
E. Revelation 1 v. 10-20 and 2 v. 1-7.

9. M. Psalms 23 and 24. Mark 9 v. 1-29.
E. Revelation 3.

16. M. Psalm 49. Mark 10 v. 13-45.
E. Revelation 5.

23. M. Psalm 72. Matthew 10 v. 16-42.
E. Revelation 6.

30. M. Psalm 80. Mark 11.
E. Revelation 7.


6. M. Psalm 91. Acts 6 and 7 v. 55-60.
E. Revelation 10

13. M. Psalm 103. Acts 10 v. 19-48.
E. Revelation 14.

20. M. Psalm 116. 1 Corinthians 13.
E. Revelation 20.

27. M. Psalm 119 parts 1, 2, 5. John 16.
E. Revelation 21.


4. M. Psalms 148 and 150. 2 Peter 2.
E. Revelation 22.



7. John 1 v. 1-36.
14. John 3.
21. John 6 v. 26-58.
28. John 10.


4. John 11 v. 1-44.
11. John 13.
18. John 14.
25. John 15.


2. John 17.

[6] Prayer before reading the Holy Scriptures.

Blessed Lord, I devoutly thank thee for the gift of thy holy word. Help me now to read it with seriousness and attention, and incline me to love and practise whatever it commands. May thy law show me more and more of my sinfulness, and thy gospel fill me with love to the Redeemer, through whom alone I pray for the pardon of my transgressions. May the remembrance of what I shall now read, keep me from offending thee this day, so that by the teaching of thy Holy Spirit, I may daily grow in goodness and be made wise unto everlasting life. And this I ask for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

For the voluntary meetings for Prayer.

O Lord, I humbly come before thee, as my Father in heaven. Enable me to lift up my heart unto thee, for without thy Spirit I cannot pray. I am so prone to sin and folly, that I cannot think a good thought unless it comes from thee. Teach me to pray. Incline me to pray. Make me to feel continually that I can be happy, only in obedience to thy Laws. Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. Give me grace to resist temptation, and save me from the dominion of the sin to which I am most inclined. Help me now to meditate on the things which belong to my everlasting peace. Open my heart to receive the truth. Give me light that I may see Jesus Christ, as the way, the truth, and the life, and steadfastly behold him as the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.

Bless my companions, who are now observing with me this hour of prayer. Give them the blessings that I ask [6/7] for myself. Hear my prayers for them, and hear their prayers for me. Bind us together in the bonds of brotherly love. Look down upon us as thine adopted children in Christ, and write our names in the Lamb's book of life. Prepare us to do good in our generation. [May we daily recollect the vows that we made at thine altar, and strengthen us to fulfil them. Defend us with thy heavenly grace, that we may continue thine for ever, and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more until we come to thine everlasting kingdom.] Teach us to look for thy favor in whatever we do. And now inspire us with wise and holy thoughts, for the sake of him in whose name we offer all our prayers, JESUS CHRIST the righteous, thy blessed Son our Lord. Amen.

A Morning Prayer.

O Lord, my heavenly Father, at the beginning of another day, I humbly bow before thee to acknowledge thy goodness, and to ask thy blessing. I thank thee for preserving me in the night past, for raising me up in health, and for continuing to me the gifts of thy bountiful providence. Give me grace, I beseech thee, to make a right use of thy mercies, and grant that I may henceforward live as becomes a disciple of thy beloved Son. And because I am not able of myself to please thee, O grant me the assistance of thy Holy Spirit, enabling me to withstand all the enemies of my salvation. Enlighten my understanding that I may know thee. Sanctify my affections that I may love thee, and put thy fear into my heart that I dread to offend thee. Keep me chaste in my thoughts, temperate in my enjoyments, humble in my opinions of myself, and charitable in my speeches of others. Make me meek [7/8] and peaceable under provocations, sincere and faithful in my professions, and ever willing to do to others as I would they should do unto me. If sinners entice me, may I not consent. Preserve me especially from those sins which I have most frequently committed, and strengthen me by thy Spirit, that I may yield to them no more. And above all things, help me to be ever looking unto Jesus, as my only Savior from the power of sin in my heart, and from its punishment in the world to come.

I humbly commit myself this day to thy protection and blessing. Save me from all evil both of soul and body. Give me, and all for whom I pray, as much of earthly good as thou shalt see best and most expedient for us. But, above all things, give us thy grace and thy favor, that our lives may be holy here and eternally happy with thee hereafter, through the merits and for the sake of thy dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

An Evening Prayer.

O, Lord, my heavenly Father, I beseech thee to hear my evening prayer; and give me grace to offer it in an acceptable manner. Deliver me from wandering thoughts, that I may not worship thee with my lips, while my heart is far from thee. I remember thy goodness to me through the day. Give me a grateful heart, and help me to show my gratitude by studying to please thee, as one of thy children. I confess with shame that I do not thank thee in this way, but while thou dost crown my days with thy mercies, I too often defile them with sin. I confess my offences. I sincerely repent of them, and pray for thy forgiveness through the merits of my blessed Redeemer. Pardon whatever dispositions and tempers I have indulged, [8/9] which have been displeasing in thy holy eyes. Pardon whatever rash and angry words I have this day spoken, and all the sinful thoughts which have risen up in my mind and which I have not been careful to resist. And pardon, O Lord, my grievous sin, in forgetting thee, and failing in love to my Redeemer. I have much to be forgiven; Oh help me to love much. Enable me ever to recollect, "Thou God seest me"--that every day I may grow better, and every night retire to rest at peace with thee and all the world. Remember for good my dear relatives and friends, and lift upon them the light of thy countenance. Grant them the pardon and peace that I see for myself, that at last when we stand before thy throne, we may together hear from thy gracious lips, come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Take me, I pray thee, under thy guardian care this night. Let me rest beneath the shadow of thy wing. Inspire me with pious thoughts when I lie down to rest, and let my first thoughts in the morning be of thy goodness, and of my duty to serve thee, my ever blessed and gracious Father in heaven. These things, and all that I need, I humbly ask in the name of the great Mediator and Intercessor, Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

Collects, to be added to your other prayers, on Sunday morning.

O God, who hast set apart this day for thyself, give me grace to keep it holy to thy name--that by thinking on thy blessed word, and worshipping thee in the sanctuary, [9/10] I may be prepared to serve thee for ever in heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, our heavenly Father, who has bid us to pray for one another, grant thy especial grace to my companions in the gospel, this day. Help us to unite in the service of thy church in spirit and in truth, and to listen to our duty with honest hearts in order to practise it. Strengthen our affections to one another, and work in us all, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that holiness without which no man shall see thy face. Grant this, I beseech thee, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

O Lord, who hast promised to be with thy ministers to the end of the world, pour down thy blessing on their labors this day. Enlighten their minds, animate their hearts, and strengthen their hands. And give the word, O Lord, that great may be the company of the preachers who shall go forth into the world and preach the gospel to every creature, steadfastly believing thy promise of old, that thy name shall be great among the gentiles from the rising of the son, even unto the going down of the same. And this we beg for the sake of him to whom thou hast given the heathen for his inheritance, and the utmost bounds of the earth for his possession, thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Suppose some one, for whom it would be proper, to ask such questions as the following; and take care that conscience gives a distinct answer.

Have you read your Bible to-day? And how did you read it?

Did you hurry over your prayers?

[11] Have you thought of your confirmation vows?

Have you employed your time profitably?

Have you indulged bad temper?

Have you been affectionate and gracious in your conduct towards your parents, and brothers and sisters?

Have you been quick to resent an offence?

What have you left undone, that ought to have been done? And can you not do it yet?

Have you done any good to others?

What sin have you fallen into? and have you repented of it, and sought pardon for it through the merits fo Jesus Christ?

Have you been ashamed of your Saviour, in your conduct or your conversation?

Do you think of his example as the rule of your life?

Do you see more and more how impossible it is to be saved by your own goodness, and that you have no hope but in Christ?

Do you pray as earnestly for grace and pardon as you do for the good things of this life?

Do you ever think of death?

On Sundays.

Did you ask for grace, in your private prayers this morning, to keep this day holy unto the Lord?

Have you endeavoured to keep it holy?

Were you serious and attentive during service?

Did you strive against wandering thoughts, or did you encourage them by gazing about over the congregation?

Did you kneel and make your responses--which you ought to do, whatever be the practice of those around you?

[12] Do you recollect the substance of the discourse?

How have you spent the intervals of the day, not occupied in public worship?

Many more such questions might be added.--These are given to put you in the way of catechizing yourselves.


JAM lucis orto sidere
Deum precemur supplices,
Nostras ut ipse dirigat
Lux increata semitas.

Nil lingua, nil peccet manus,
Mil mens inane cogitet:
In ore simplex veritas,
In corde regnet caritas.

Incoepta dum fluet dies,
Oh Christe, custos privigil,
Quas saevus hostes obsidet,
Portas tuere sensuum.

Proesta diurnus ut tuae
Subserviat laudi labor:
Auctore quae te coepimus,
Da, ta favente, prosequi.

Superba ne nimis caro,
Menti licenter imperet,
Carnis domet superbiam
Potus cibique parcitas.

Deo Patri sit Gloria,
Ejusque soli Filio,
Sancto simul cum Spiritu
Nunc et per omne seculvm.

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