Thursday, June 17, 2010

haughty and presumptuous reasonings...

In the 19th century Unitarian book of prayers for families and individuals, "The Altar at Home," is included this which is to be prayed...

 "When Oppressed by Difficulties in Theology."

"Infinite and Eternal Being, whose nature and whose ways no finite mind can comprehend, thou seest how my frail reason is hardened, how my thoughts are oppressed, how my words are silenced, in meditating on thy decrees and dispensations, on the prevalence of evil, and on the prospects of human kind. 0 my Lord, these mysteries are too awful and too painful for me. Help me, I pray thee, to repose on the belief of thy divine perfection, who art supremely just and holy, merciful and good, and with whom all things are possible. Let me never forget or doubt that God is love : and great as may be the difficulty of reconciling the state and history of our race with that glorious and delightful truth, 0 give me strength to hold fast the invaluable declaration and supreme manifestation of it, and to believe that it shall at last be developed in all its cloudless and overcoming splendor.

Teach me ever to believe with the heart that fact which is the marvellous and crowning demonstration of thy essential love; that God so loved the world that he spared not his own Son. but delivered him up for us all; that he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world; that Jesus was made lower than the angels in order that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man; that he gave himself a ransom for all; that as the Lamb of God he taketh away the sin of the world; and let me not entangle myself in strifes of words and perplexities of speculation, which would restrict the largeness of this grace. Merciful Father, never may I forget that we know but parts of thy ways ; that man's mind and man's systems are limited and dark, and that human hearts are deceitful and erring. 0 give me to believe that there is something beyond and above their view and mine, in the glory, efficiency and vastness, of thy great salvation. Let me cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of!

Save me and mine, I beseech thee, good Lord, from all fundamental and ruinous error, from all haughty and presumptuous reasonings, but specially from distrustful and despairing thoughts of thee, of thy glorious administration, and thy holy purposes. 0 grant me strength to believe that it is for wise and gracious reasons thou permittest me to be variously tried, perturbed and tempted, and peculiarly so at times, by pondering the high and surprising mysteries of thy procedure and decrees. 0 Lord, be pleased to extricate me from all trials, as they shall successively or together occur; and at present particularly from this arduous trial of faith. Give me, I entreat, that calm and happy confidence in thee which may keep me at ease for fulfilling duty, allowing me to prosecute with renewed strength those endeavors which thy providence and grace alone can encourage and empower me to pursue. I ask all through the all-prevailing mediation of my Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."


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