Monday, September 28, 2020

Tender mercies

From Alan Jacobs' newsletter this morning, a "'Prayer for Persons Troubled in Mind or Conscience' from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer":
O Blessed Lord, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comforts: We beseech Thee, look down in pity and compassion upon this Thy afflicted servant. Thou writest bitter things against him, and makest him to possess his former iniquities; Thy wrath lieth hard upon him, and his soul is full of trouble: But, O merciful God, who hast written Thy holy Word for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of Thy holy Scriptures, might have hope; give him a right understanding of himself, and of Thy threats and promises; that he may neither cast away his confidence in Thee, nor place it any where but in Thee. Give him strength against all his temptations, and heal all his distempers. Break not the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. Shut not up Thy tender mercies in displeasure; but make him to hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice. Deliver him from fear of the enemy, and lift up the light of Thy countenance upon him, and give him peace, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The person who wrote this prayer understood as well as anyone ever has the distinctive miseries of self-accusation, self-condemnation, and so beautifully pities the person so afflicted, and intercedes for that person with God: Shut not up thy tender mercies in displeasure; but make him to hear of joy and gladness.

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