FOR PARDON AND LIKENESS TO GOD.
O Lamb eternal, beyond all place and time! O Lamb of God, slain eternally before the foundation of the world! O Lamb that liest slain eternally in the midst of the throne of God! Let the blood of life, which flows from Thee, procure me pardon for the past; let the water of life, which flows from Thee, give me strength for the future. I come to cast away my own life, my life of self and selfishness, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, that I may live it no more, and to receive Thy life, which is created after the likeness of God, in righteousness and true holiness, that I may live it for ever and ever, and find it a well of life springing up in me to everlasting life. Eternal Goodness, make me good like Thee. Eternal Wisdom, make me wise like Thee. Eternal Justice, make me just like Thee. Eternal Love, make me loving like Thee.
O Lord! Love who embracest the universe, Light who lightest every man that comes into the world, take away from me all darkness of soul and hardness of heart. Fill me with Thy light, that I may see all things in light. Fill me with Thy love, that I may love all things which Thou hast made.
Come to us, O Lord! open the eyes of our souls, and show us the things which belong to our peace and the path of life, that we may see that, though all man's inventions and plans come to an end, yet Thy commandment is exceedingly broad--broad enough for rich and poor, for scholar, tradesman, and labourer, for our prosperity in this life and our salvation in the life to come.
FOR TRUE GLORY.
O God, quench in us all which is selfish, idle, mean, and quicken to life in us all which is God-like and for God, that so we may attain at last to the true glory, the glory which comes, not from selfish ambition, not from selfish pride, not from selfish ease, but from getting rid of selfishness in all its shapes--the glory which Christ alone has in perfection--the glory before which every knee will one day bow whether in earth or heaven--even the glory of doing our duty, regardless of what it costs us, in the station to which each of us has been called by his Father in Heaven.
O Lord Jesus Christ! Exalt me with Thee so to know the mystery of life, that I may use the earthly as the appointed expression and type of the heavenly; and by using to Thy glory the natural body, I may be fit to be exalted to the use of the spiritual body.
FOR PURITY AND GOODNESS.
Purge Thou me, O Lord, or I shall never be pure; wash Thou me, and then alone shall I be clean. For Thou requirest not frames or feelings, not pride and self-conceit, but truth in the inward parts; and wilt make me to understand wisdom secretly.
O God, Thou art good, and I am bad; and for that very reason I come. I come to be made good. I adore Thy goodness, and I long to copy it: but I cannot unless Thou helpest me. Purge me. Make me clean. Cleanse me from my secret faults, and give me truth in the inward parts. Do what Thou wilt with me. Train me as Thou wilt. Punish me if it be necessary. Only make me good.
Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts. Shut not Thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, O Lord, most holy! O God, most mighty! Thou worthy Judge Eternal, and suffer us not, for any temptation of the world, the flesh, or the devil, to fall from Thee. I, Lord, am I: and what I am--a very poor, pitiful, sinful person. But Thou, Lord, art Thou; and what Thou art--Perfect! Thou art Goodness itself. And therefore Thou canst, and Thou wilt, make me what I ought to be at last, a good person. To Thee I can bring the burden of this undying I, which I carry with me, too often in shame and sadness. I ask Thee to help me to bear it. Guide me, teach me, strengthen me, till I become such as Thou wouldst have me be: pure and gentle, truthful and high-minded, brave and able, courteous and generous, dutiful and useful like Thy Son, Jesus Christ.
PRAYER AGAINST BEING CONFOUNDED.
O Lord, I am oppressed, crushed--the heart is beaten out of me. I have nothing to say for myself. Undertake for me. O Lord, confound me not. I know I am weak, ignorant, unsuccessful; full of faults and failings, which make me ashamed of myself every day of my life. I have gone astray, like a sheep that is lost. But seek Thy servant, O Lord, for I do not forget Thy commandments. I am trying to learn my duty. I am trying to do my duty. I have stuck unto Thy testimonies. O Lord, have mercy and confound me not. Man may confound me. But do not Thou of Thy mercy and pity, O Lord. Let me not find when I die, or before I die, that all my labour has been in vain; that I am not wiser, not more useful after all. Let not my gray hairs go down with sorrow to the grave. Let me not die with the miserable thought that in spite of all my struggles to do my duty, my life has been a failure and I a fool. Let me not wake in the next life, to be utterly confounded: to find that I was all wrong, and have nothing left but disappointment and confusion of face. O Lord, who didst endure all shame for me, save me from that most utter shame. Thou art good and just. Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell. O God, in Thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.
FOR PEACE OF MIND.
O Father, grant me Thy peace. I have not a peaceful spirit in me; and I know that I shall never get it by thinking, and reading, and understanding, for it passes all that; and peace lies far away beyond it, in the very essence of Thine undivided, unmoved, absolute, Eternal Godhead, which no change nor decay of this created world, nor sin or folly of men or devils, can ever alter; but which abideth for ever what it is, in perfect rest, and perfect power, and perfect love. Soothe this restless, greedy, fretful soul of mine, as a mother soothes a sick and feverish child. How Thou wilt do it I do not know. It passes all understanding. But though the sick child cannot reach the mother, the mother is at hand and can reach it. And Thou art more than a mother: Thou art the Everlasting Father. Though the eagle by flying cannot reach the sun, yet the sun is at hand, and can reach all the earth, and pour its light and warmth over all things. Thou art more than the sun; Thou art the Light and Life of all things. Pour Thy Light and Thy Life over me, that I may see as Thou seest, and live as Thou livest, and be at peace with myself and all the world, as Thou art at peace with Thyself and all the world. Pour Thy love over me, that I may love as Thou lovest. Again, I say, I know not how, for it passes all understanding; but I hope that Thou wilt do it for me, I trust that Thou wilt do it for me, for I believe that Thou art Love, and that Thy mercy is over all Thy works. I believe that Thou so lovest the world that Thou hast sent Thy Son to save the world and me. I know not how, for that too passes understanding; but I believe that Thou wilt do it, for I believe that Thou art Love, and that Thy mercy is over all Thy works, even over me. I believe that Thy will is peace on earth, even peace to me, restless and unquiet as I am, and goodwill to all men, even to me, the chief of sinners.
PRAYER BEFORE HOLY COMMUNION.
O blessed Jesus! Saviour, who agonized for us! God Almighty, who didst make Thyself weak for the love of us! Oh, write that love upon our hearts so deeply that neither pleasure nor sorrow, life nor death may wipe it away! Thou hast sacrificed Thyself for us; oh, give us hearts to sacrifice ourselves for Thee! Thou art the Vine, we are the branches. Let Thy priceless blood, shed for us on the cross, flow like life-giving sap through all our hearts and minds, and fill us with Thy righteousness, that we may be sacrifices fit for Thee. Stir us up to offer to Thee, O Lord, our bodies, our souls, our spirits; and in all we love and all we learn, in all we plan and all we do, to offer ourselves, our labours, our pleasures, our sorrows, to Thee; to work for Thy kingdom, to live as those who are not their own, but bought with Thy blood, fed with Thy body; and enable us now, in Thy most Holy Sacrament, to offer to Thee our repentance, our prayers, our praises, living, reasonable, and spiritual sacrifices--Thine from our birth-hour--Thine now, and Thine for ever!
CONFESSION OF SIN.
Father, I have sinned against Thee, and am not worthy to be called Thy child; but I come to Thee. Father, I hate myself; but Thou lovest me. I do not understand myself; but Thou dost, and Thou wilt be merciful to the work of Thine own hands. I cannot guide and help myself, but Thou canst help me, and Thou wilt too, because Thou art my Father, and nothing can part me from Thy love, or from the love of Thy Son, my King. I come and claim my share in Thee, just because I have nothing, and can bring Thee nothing, but lie at Thy gate as a beggar full of sores, desiring to be fed with the crumbs from Thy table. And if I would help the wretched, how much more wilt Thou help me. Thy name is Love, and Thy glory is the likeness of Thy Son Jesus Christ, who said, "Come to me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" "If ye being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him."
CONFESSION OF WEAKNESS.
O God my Father, I am Thine; save me, for I have sought Thy commandments. I am Thine--not merely Thy creature, O God--the very birds, and bees, and flowers are that; and do their duty far better than I--God forgive me--do mine.
I am Thine--not merely Thy child--but I am Thy school child. O Lord Jesus Christ, I claim Thy help as my schoolmaster, as well as my Lord and Saviour. I am the least of Thy school children; and it may be the most ignorant and stupid. I do not pretend to be a scholar, a divine, a philosopher, a saint. I am a very weak, insufficient scholar, sitting on the lowest form in Thy great school-house, which is the whole world, and trying to spell out the mere letters of Thy alphabet, in hope that hereafter I may be able to make out whole words and whole sentences of Thy commandments, and having learnt them, to do them. If Thou wilt but teach me Thy statutes, O Lord, then I will try to keep them to the end; for I long to be on Thy side, and about Thy work. I long to help, be it ever so little, in making myself better, and my neighbour better. I long to be useful, and not useless; a fruit-bearing tree, and not a noxious weed in Thy garden; and therefore I pray that Thou wilt not cut me down or root me up, nor let foul creatures trample me under foot.
Have mercy upon me, O Lord, in my trouble, for the sake of the truth which I long to learn, and for the good which I long to do. Poor weak plant though I may be, I am still a plant of Thy planting, which is struggling to grow, and flower, and bear fruit to eternal life; and Thou wilt not despise the work of Thine own hands, O Lord, who died that I might live? Thou wilt not let me perish! I have stuck unto Thy testimonies. O Lord, confound me not!
CONFESSION OF ONE IN CONFUSION OF SPIRIT.
O God, Thou knowest, and Thou alone, how far I am right, and how far wrong. I leave myself in Thy hand, certain that Thou wilt deal fairly, justly, lovingly with me, as a Father with his son. I do not pretend to be better than I am; neither will I pretend to be worse than I am. Truly I know nothing about it. I, ignorant human being that I am, can never fully know how far I am right, and how far wrong. I find light and darkness fighting together in my heart, and I cannot divide between them. But Thou, Lord, canst. Thou knowest. Thou hast made me; Thou lovest me; Thou hast sent Thy Son into the world to make me what I ought to be. Thou wiliest not that I should perish, but come to the knowledge of the truth; and therefore I believe that I shall not perish, but come to the knowledge of the truth about Thee, about my own character, my own duty, about everything which it is needful for me to know. Therefore, O Lord, I will go boldly on, doing my duty as well as I can, though not perfectly, day by day; and asking Thee day by day to feed my soul with daily bread. Thou feedest my body with daily bread. How much more wilt Thou feed my mind and my heart, more precious by far than my body. Lord, I will trust Thee for soul and body alike; and if I need correcting for my sins, I know this, at least, that the worst thing that can happen to me, or to any man, is to do wrong and not to be corrected; and the best thing is to be set right, even by hard blows, as often as I stray out of the way. Therefore, O Lord, I will take my punishment quietly and manfully, and try to thank Thee for it, as I ought; for I know that Thou wilt not punish me beyond what I deserve, but far below what I deserve. I know Thou wilt punish me only to bring me to myself, and to correct me, and purge me, and strengthen me. I believe, O Lord, on the warrant of Thine own word I believe it--undeserved as the honour is, that Thou art my Father, and lovest me; Thou dost not afflict any man willingly, or grieve the children of men out of passion or out of spite. Thou wiliest not that I, or any man, should perish; but Thou wiliest have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, for Jesus Christ His sake.
CONFESSION OF A TORMENTED SOUL.
O Lord, I am in misery--my soul is sore troubled--for I have sinned, and I confess that I only receive the due reward of my deeds. I have earned my shame, I have earned my sorrow; Lord, I have deserved it all. I look back on wasted time and wasted powers. I look round on ruined health, ruined fortune, ruined hopes; I confess that I deserve it all. But Thou hast endured more than this for me, and Thou hast done nothing amiss. For me Thou didst suffer, for me Thou hast been crucified, and me Thou hast been trying to save all through the years of my vanity. Perhaps I have not wearied out Thy love, perhaps I have not conquered Thy patience. I will take the blessed chance. I will still cast myself upon Thy love. O Lord, I have deserved all my misery. Yet, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.
Father! not our will but Thine be done. All things come from Thy hand, and therefore all things come from Thy love. We have received good from Thy hand, and shall we not receive evil? Though Thou slay us, yet will we trust in Thee. For Thou art gracious and merciful, long-suffering and of great goodness. Thou art loving to every man, and Thy mercy is over all Thy works. Thou art righteous in all Thy ways, and holy in all Thy doings. Thou art nigh unto them that call upon Thee. Thou wilt hear their cry, and wilt help them; for all Thou desirest, when Thou sendest trouble on us, is to make us wiser and better. And that Thou canst only make us by teaching us the knowledge of Thyself. Glory be to Thee, O God!
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