Monday, June 16, 2008

An Evening Prayer by Butler

Joseph Butler, Anglican theologian and moral philosopher, died on June 16, 1752. I don't remember whether that's Old Style or New Style, but it's June 16 either way. An evening prayer by Butler:

Almighty God, whose continued providence ordereth all things both in Heaven and Earth; Who never slumberest nor sleepest; but hast divided the light from the darkness, and made the day for employment and the night for rest to Thy creatures the inhabitants of the earth: we acknowledge with all thankfulness Thy merciful preservation of us this day, by which we are brought in safety to the evening of it. We implore Thy forgiveness of all the offences which we have been guilty of in it, whether in thought, word, or deed; and desire to have a due sense of Thy goodness in keeping us out of the way of those temptations by which we might have fallen into greater sins, and in preserving us from those misfortunes and sad accidents, common to every day, and which must have befallen many others. We humbly commit ourselves to the same good providence this night, that we may sleep in quiet under Thy protection, and wake, if it be Thy will, in the morning in renewed life and strength. And we beg the assistance of Thy grace to live in such a manner, that when the few days and nights which thou shalt allot us in this world be passed away, we may die in peace, and finally obtain the resurrection unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


This and a few other oft-overlooked fragments can be found in Edward Steere's Some Remains (Hitherto Unpublished) of Joseph Butler, LL.D.

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