A Puritan’s Prayer: Divine Mercies

Thou Eternal God,

Thine is surpassing greatness, unspeakable
goodness, super-abundant grace;
I can as soon count the sands of ocean’s ‘lip’
as number Thy favours towards me;
I know but a part – but that part exceeds all praise.

I thank Thee for personal mercies,
a measure of health, preservation of body,
comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food
and clothing,
continuance of mental powers,
my family, their mutual help and support,
the delights of domestic harmony and peace,
the seats now filled that might have been vacant,
my country, church, Bible, faith.

But, Oh, how I mourn my sin, ingratitude, vileness,
the days that add to my guilt,
the scenes that witness my offending tongue;
All things in heaven, earth, around, within, without, condemn me –
the sun which sees my misdeeds,
the darkness which is light to Thee,
the cruel accuser who justly charges me,
the good angels who have been provoked to leave me,
Thy countenance which scans my secret sins,
Thy righteous law, Thy holy Word,
my sin-soiled conscience, my private and public life,
my neighbors, myself –
all write dark things against me.

I deny them not, frame no excuse, but confess,
‘Father, I have sinned’;
Yet still I live, and fly repenting to Thy outstretched arms;
Thou wilt not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near,
Thou wilt not condemn me, for He died in my stead,
Thou wilt not mark my mountains of sin,
for He levelled all,
and His beauty covers my deformities.

Oh my God, I bid farewell to sin by clinging
to His cross, hiding in His wounds, and sheltering in His side.

(Taken from ‘The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers,’ edited by Arthur Bennett)

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