Friday, May 26, 2006

Norris's Prayer

This is a repost, but it has been a long time since I've said anything about Norris.

O God of Order and Beauty, who sweetly disposest all things, and hast establish'd a Regular course in the visible World, who hast appointed the Moon for certain Seasons, and by whose decree the Sun knoweth his going down, let the Moral world be as Regular and Harmonious as the Natural, and both conspire to the declaration of thy Glory. And to this End grant that the Motion of our Minds may be as orderly as the Motion of Bodyes, and that we may move as regularly by Choice and free Election, as they do by Natural instinct and Necessity.

O God of Light and Love, warm and invigorate my Light, and direct and regulate my Love. In thy Light let me see Light, and in thy Love let me ever Love. Lord I am more apt to err in my Love than in my understanding, and one Errour in Love is of worse Consequence than a thousand in Judgment, O do thou therefore watch over the Motions of my Love with a peculiar governance, and grant that I my self may keep this Part with all diligence, seeing hence are the issues of Life and Death.

O Spirit of Love, who art the very Essence, Fountain and Perfection of Love, be thou also its Object, Rule, and Guide. Grant I may Love thee, and what thou love'st, and as thou love'st. O Clarify and refine, inlighten and actuate my Love, that it may mount upward to the Center and Element of Love, with a Steddy, Chast, and unsullied Flame; make it unselvish, universal, liberal, generous and Divine, that loving as I ought I may contribute to the Order of thy Creation here, and be perfectly Happy in loving thee, and in being lov'd by thee Eternally hereafter. Amen.

From John Norris, The Theory and Regulation of Love (1688) pp. 142-143. Norris, of course, a first-friend-then-enemy of Locke, corresponded with Mary Astell; he also is distinctive in that he is an English Malebranchean (albeit a very eclectic one).

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