At the Mercy of God

I just ran across this 2011 post from my old blog, back when I was a new Calvinist and still in high school. I’m in a very different place now than I was then, but the basic insight behind this old post is still as fresh and exciting as ever, so I thought I’d share the whole thing:


Recently I sinned. That’s believable, right? We’re sinners, so we sin. Nevertheless, our slightest, most common sin is terrible on God’s scale. So, in response to conviction, I found myself confessing, asking for forgiveness, and asking for strength to resist the temptation in the future. I realized far too well that I have no power to stop this sin, but I would instead need to rely on God in faith to change my heart to love Him more than any sinful pleasure. As my awareness of my woeful inability heightened, I found myself uttering a very common expression to God: “I am at Your mercy.” Then it struck me; that is the absolute best place in the universe to be. There is no place so beautiful, no place so powerful, and no place so secure as the mercy of the Living God who personally paid the price for our sin that He demanded. If the God of the universe who abhors sin would be so merciful as to die for the sins of those He chose the world [silly old limited atonement], will He not spare a pittance of mercy to help these same people overcome the power of sin in their lives? He most certainly will! Next time you find yourself powerless to fix your problems, cleanse yourself, or escape trouble, remember that you, just as I, are at the mercy of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is most assuredly the greatest place to be.

Just War: Thinking Biblically about Military Force (Or, Why I’d Never Vote for Rubio)

The Christian Answer from the Past for Today: Just War

I’ve spent a lot of time this campaign season thinking about foreign policy and war. With all that’s been going on in the Middle East lately, and with the insane Republican debates, this can’t be a surprise. While thinking about all of this, I decided to go back and study war theologically. I wanted to see what respected Bible teachers and theologians throughout Church history have thought. What is a Biblical way of approaching a just war and military force? The results were surprising. There has been quite a lot of agreement in Church history on war. (There have always been pacifists in the minority, but most everyone else agrees pretty decently.) I can’t think of any other topic in Christian theology which enjoys this kind of consensus. So what did I find?

Most Christian answers about war are summed up in what we now call “just war theory.” Just war theory, if you haven’t heard of it, is a set of strict principles for figuring out when war is justified, and how it can be carried out justly, based on Biblical teaching. It can be traced back at least to Saint Augustine, and has been adopted by many others since then. It’s been accepted all over the board by Baptists, the Reformed, Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and many others. Given its place as almost the consensus of the universal Church through history, I suspect it’s worth accepting.

Just war theory is divided into two parts. The first part, called jus ad bellum, is about the right to go to war. It gives criteria for when war is justified. The second part, called jus in bello, is about how to go to war righteously and justly. What I’d like to do briefly is go over these criteria, explain them, and see how they apply to modern political debates. Onward, then.

When to Fight a Just War

The principles of when to fight a war are founded on the Biblical convictions that violence is never desirable (Matt. 5:8, 38-41), peace should be the first goal (Deut. 20:10), and that the oppressed must be defended (Prov. 31:9). Here they are, six in all (though the number varies depending who you ask).

Just cause
Any war must have a right reason. Not every reason is okay. Going to war just to claim land, punish enemies, or settle rivalries is evil. Generally, most Christian thinkers have said the only certainly just cause for war is defense of the people, or of an allied people, against a foreign enemy on the attack. Only if innocent lives, homes, and rights are going to be taken away can it be right to go to war.
This criteria on its own is essential, of course, but not enough. A lot of things might be justified by possible threats. So we have 6 more to go go through.
Proportionality
This part means that the suffering expected or already endured must be enough to justify all the violence that will be generated by the war. If you’re not suffering much, it is not right to kill a bunch of people to fix it. For a really simple example, it would not be right to go to war over sinfully high gas prices.
I believe this criteria has a lot to say about the Middle East right now. How many of the interventions we are in now or will be in cause more suffering than was already being experienced by the people we claim to defend?
Proper authority
Scripture teaches that God has providentially put our government leaders into their positions of authority and uses them to carry out justice and punish wrongdoers (see Romans 13). Any war, therefore, must be decided and declared by the proper authorities. You can’t just round up a bunch of people with guns and decide on the basis of the other just war criteria that you’re going to start fighting.
This is also a concern for modern foreign policy issues. The Constitution only authorizes Congress to declare war. The President, nonetheless, has for some time now been able to freely use military force without this authorization. Naturally, this is a problem.
Right intention
Similar to the first people, the rule of a right intention means that the war must be carried out strictly for the purpose of whatever just cause might authorize it. It is not okay to go to war without someone just because you want a resource they have, even under pretenses of national security.
High likelihood of success
There is no sense wasting lives and killing people if you’re not going to succeed. For a war effort to be justified, it must have a significant chance of accomplishing its purpose. People should never have to fight and die for a lost cause.
Even if nothing else did, this rules out the war Saudi Arabia is waging against Yemen. They are destroying the country to no avail at all. Today, they are no closer to success than when they began, yet the U.S. government, especially including Hillary Clinton and Senator Marco Rubio, is supporting them. This also rules out taking any military action to topple Assad. The chances are absolutely huge that our hopes of helping the people will ultimately fail and they will end up under ISIS control (at best).
Last resort
Obviously, war should be an absolute last resort. All other options must be exhausted before resorting to death and destruction. This is the rule which God gave Israel when dealing with most general warfare (Deut. 20:10), and I believe it is also common sense. Do not kill when you still have other ways to deal with a problem.
Again, Marco Rubio is not my friend on this, and same with several other Republican candidates (and Hillary Clinton). Most of them are quite willing to jump to military action at the first sign of trouble, and detest using robust diplomacy (see: opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal).

How to Fight a Just War

Of course, it is not enough just to be justified in going to war. We must also behave righteously during war, and reject all notions that “anything goes.” Here are the traditional principles for a just war’s execution:

Distinction
It is essential to distinguish between innocent civilians and combatants. It is clearly wrong to attack civilian targets with no military purpose, or to attack neutral places. I don’t think this needs much elaboration, but I should add this also counts against the war on Yemen (and thus Rubio and Clinton), since reports come in by the truckload of Saudi soldiers intentionally bombing civilian targets.
Proportionality
The negative results/collateral damage of a military action must make sense in relation to what is being accomplished. If your plan to block off one road involves killing 100 kids, you should go back to the drawing board (if not the nuthouse). This is another problem with Yemen, since most of the damage being done to the whole nation is the gradual starvation of the civilian population to little military advantage. Cruz is also indicted by this point, perhaps in combination with the first, for his reckless plan to “carpet bomb” ISIS.
Military necessity
Every military action must have an actual military purpose. Never attack without a cause and a clear advantage or goal in mind. This is exactly the opposite of what terrorists like to do.
Fair POW treatment
Sensibly enough, one of the rules is to treat any prisoners of war as human beings with God-given rights, rather than as bugs or pond scum. Do not torture, mistreat, or indefinitely detain them.
No evil means
Finally, there should be no war means used that are plainly evil. Raping and pillaging is unacceptable. Using uncontrollable, indiscriminate weaponry is forbidden (this includes nukes). A particular nuance of this point combined with the point of distinction means that you can never use civilian deaths. If there is collateral damage, it must be a side effect, not part of the plan. You can’t purposely kill innocents to accomplish a military goal (which is why many strict just war theories condemn the WWII atomic bombings).

Wrapping Up

Well, that’s the basic outline of just war theory as traditionally and Biblically taught by the Church’s greatest theologians and preachers. You may disagree with a point or two, I suppose, but if so I would advise prayerful consideration. I feel this is a very Biblical model, and because I think so I cannot support politicians who so blatantly trample on some of its key principles, such as Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and a handful of others. In fact, with just war theory in mind, Rand Paul is probably the only candidate I could like. But anyway, I hope this is helpful or at least thought-provoking for you all.

Further Reading

The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, book 4, chapter 20.

The City of God by St. Augustine.

Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas.

“Bahsen on War” – The American Vision

Just Say “No” to Chemical Grace

I used to think of grace a lot like a chemical. Basically, God had this “thing” called grace. In fact, He didn’t just have one kind of this grace thing, but several. There was “sanctifying grace,” “justifying grace,” and other variants. Regenerating grace, for example, was basically something that the Holy Spirit pours out on unregenerate sinners, causing a spiritual reaction that generates faith. Or instead of, say, adding vinegar and baking soda to make CO2, you add sanctifying grace and faith to create good works. And this isn’t me just looking backward at myself uncharitably. I used exactly those kinds of analogies to explain grace.

From what I can tell, this is not as uncommon as it sounds silly. Rather, especially in Reformed circles, it seems to be widespread. This isn’t to say a lot of people would necessarily use this analogy, or say, “Yeah, that sounds about right.” But if you peek into their systematic theologies, or study their explanations of something like regeneration, or dissect their ordo salutis, you will often find striking similarities, usually in different words, to what I have described above.

The problem with this is that the Scriptural portrayal of God and His grace is radically more personal. Grace is not a spiritual chemical, or a “thing” God puts on us. Biblically, grace is God personally gifting Himself to us, and cannot be easily distinguished from the actual person of Jesus Christ. One might say that grace is Jesus Christ.

What difference does this really make? It’s kind of hard to explain in any detail right now, but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind when you read theology, listen to preaching, or try to break down salvation. For a taste of this alternate, personal approach, here’s a quote from T. F. Torrance:

Thus in its special New Testament sense charis [the Greek word for “grace”] refers to the being and action of God as revealed and actualised [made real and concrete] in Jesus Christ, for He is in His person and work self-giving of God to men. Later theology thought of charis as a divine attribute, but it would be truer to the New Testament to speak of it less abstractly as the divine love in redemptive action. Grace is in fact identical with Jesus Christ in person and word and deed. Here the Greek word charis seems to pass from the aspect of disposition or goodwill which bestows blessing to the action itself and to the actual gift, but in the New Testament neither the action nor the gift is separable from the person of the giver, God in Christ.

Will We Apply “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself” to Our Wallets?

“This is the most important,” Jesus answered:
Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

“The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” 

The second greatest rule of Christian life is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Indeed, this rule is barely distinguishable from the first and greatest rule, since to love God is also to love those whom He has made and loves Himself. As Paul says, if we have everything else but do not have love, we have nothing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the “as yourself” part, though. We’re not just called to treat our neighbors well, to be nice and kind, even a bit sacrificial, and not mean. More than all of that, we are called to love our neighbors with the same kind of interest and concern with which we love ourselves. The rule could be restated: “Whatever you do to benefit yourself, be sure to do that same kind of thing to benefit others.” And while this restatement may get “amens,” we usually fail miserably to actually implement and follow it in our daily decisions.

This seems to be especially the case when it comes to money and possessions. I don’t know about you, but I find that I rarely spend my money on other people in anywhere near the same way that I spend it on myself. Take one simple example. Say you have an old cell phone, and you want to upgrade. You buy a nice new phone, and give your old phone away to a friend. That’s nice, but what if you thought proactively about treating your friend as you would yourself? What if you did the radical opposite of this situation?

What if you did this instead? You think you want a new phone. But your old phone still works. You would just like a nicer phone. At the same time, you know your friend would like a nicer phone. So instead of buying a fancy new phone for yourself, you buy the phone for your friend and keep your old phone. That’s what you would do for yourself, so why not do it for others?

This kind of thing, spending money and using possessions for others as much as you would do for yourself, presses itself upon my mind often. Obviously, you can’t treat yourself and everyone else exactly equally, because your means can’t support every family on earth. You need to apportion enough to yourself to sustain yourself, otherwise you can’t give help anyone. But once you have what you need, what justifies spending more on yourself than others? What gives you more a right to your money and possessions than other people, especially those in need?

Loving other people as yourself means being willing to do for others things you would usually only bother doing for yourself. That includes the way you spend money. If you would buy a new car for yourself, then if you can truly afford it why not do so for someone who needs one even more than you do, or equally?

This is radical. This is hard. This is not something any of us will probably ever succeed in truly living up to. Yet we can take steps. Next time you want to go out to eat, why not give someone else a gift card? Next time you think about unnecessarily upgrading your phone, why not upgrade someone else’s? The possibilities are endless. It should all make sense if we really love our neighbors as ourselves.

Again, as always, I repeat that we don’t have to sacrifice all goods for ourselves. But still. Just think. Let both extremes plague you until you settle into a good pattern. I pray that for me as well.

Thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer

I’ve been in the habit for some time now of praying the Lord’s prayer first in my devotions. I know that not all people do this; many people think of it more as a general model not necessarily meant to be prayed exactly as is. Yet historically praying the Lord’s prayer has been a common and unifying part of Christian devotion, and so I do.

Anyway, my actual purpose in this post is to simply offer some thoughts on the lines of the prayer given by Christ, and so I will waste no more time and do that:

Our Father in heaven
God is Father. This is key to approaching Him. He has been known in many ways and by many names, but when we come into His presence we must remember that He has adopted us graciously as sons and daughters. Because we are united by faith with His only-begotten Son, we are fully and truly His children, and so we can expect Him to listen patiently and lovingly to our prayers. We can trust Him to respond with bread, no snakes or stones.
Hallowed be Your name
This comes first for good reason. God is the Creator, the Sustainer, and the Life-giver. The Son upholds the universe by the word of His power. For this reason alone, even if there was nothing else, God deserves His name to be known and cherished. Praying that God’s name is hallowed is essentially to pray, “Let the whole world know who You are and worship in that knowledge.” But why so important? Is God simply vain? Is He merely a selfish monarch demanding praises just because He can? By no means! Rather, God is light, love, and salvation itself. Jesus Christ is eternal life. Therefore there is absolutely nothing more conducive to human flourishing than the global hallowing of the name of God. It is for love that God wants to fill the earth with knowledge of Him, just as love compels a father to announce his presence and saving abilities when he finds his children alone and in danger.
Your kingdom come
There is no greater hope for Christians and the world we live in than the kingdom of God. This is not, as some imagine, spiritual heaven people go to when they die. Rather, the kingdom of God is His rule in the world, redeeming and transforming it to make it into the kind of world He desires. It is God subjecting all things to Christ, and putting all His enemies under His feet. The kingdom was officially established in the world in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, and now expands after His ascension through the advance of the Church. Ultimately, the kingdom’s coming will be complete when Christ returns Himself to rule in person. When we pray for the kingdom to come, we are asking God to advance the work of His Church in the present and bring Christ’s return ever closer from the future, so that finally the world may submit fully to the gracious design of God.
Your will be done
I believe people generally misunderstand this phrase. People tend to use it as, “God, I pray for all of these things, but just in case You want to do something different that’s okay with me.” That’s not a wrong attitude to have, and can be expressed in such a way (see Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane), but I do not believe that is what we are praying for in this case. Coming right after the request for the coming kingdom, I believe that this is a prayer for the world to come into alignment with what Scripture reveals to us is God’s will. It is a prayer not for a secret series of events, known only to God as His will, but for what God has told us is His will. This means salvation, healing for the sick, freedom for those in bondage, help for the poor, good works from God’s people, missions around the world, peace on earth, life for the unborn, and the defeat of sin, death, and Satan’s hordes. We can pray boldly for these things. We can pray for them without adding, “if it be Your will,” because all of them are God’s will.
On earth as it is in heaven
Heaven, as the word is used in Scripture, refers to God’s domain, apart from our world. In God’s sphere, the angels minister perpetually, keeping things in accord with God’s will. We pray on earth that God will extend that grace by the ministry of angels and His Church He will extend His will into our world, making earth more like heaven. The ultimate goal of this process is the new creation, where God’s heaven and man’s earth become one in perfection.
Give us this day our daily bread
Sometimes the hardest thing is to simply trust God for our provisions. It is easy not to worry sometimes, but it is difficult to not worry because we’re trusting God. We usually trust our jobs, our families, or the government or anything else, confident that they will keep us fed and sheltered. “Give us this day our daily bread” both invokes on God to provide and reminds us that He, not whatever else, is ultimately the source of what we live on,
Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors
We ask God daily for forgiveness, because of our clear sinfulness. Yet in the Lord’s prayer we are taught to only expect forgiveness inasmuch as we give forgiveness, something Jesus makes more explicit right after providing this prayer. Yet this is not making our salvation something we earn by forgiving people. Rather, our forgiveness and our ability to forgive others have one source: the life of Christ imparted to us by His Spirit. Only by grace can we be forgiven and can we forgive us successfully. This prayer, then, holds us accountable to that fact. We ask for forgiveness, recognizing that it comes as part of a package which spreads forgiveness.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one
This sentence can also be translated, “lead us not into trial, but deliver us from evil.” Both are probably correct, English just letting us down by not having a good way to say both meanings. The point is that we, especially as God’s people, find ourselves subject to many trials and temptations, days of testing by evil forces, people, and events. We pray to God to deliver us from them all, bringing us safely around, through, or beyond the troubles of this life. Evil is ever present, wishing to hurt us, yet we plead with God not to let it, or even to give it an opportunity.
For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Amen!
Joan of Arc at the stake before her death

Joan of Arc: Her Story and Challenge

The second item for the year’s reading list was a biography. I’ve never been particularly interested in biographies, but I found an exception. I was listening to the radio a week or two ago and ran across someone giving an interview about her biography of Joan of Arc. I kind of thought it was interesting, and remembered St. Joan from my medieval war obsession of my childhood. So I decided to check it out. Alas, a couple of Amazon reviews showed me quickly that this particular Joan biography was not something I’d like. My curiosity had already been piqued, so I did more research and found one more to my liking. I learned that, of all people, Mark Twain wrote a book on Joan of Arc, entitled Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc. I expected this to be a simple biography. It was not. Rather, I found it to be a highly engaging, fictionalized account of Joan’s life from the perspective of a made-up lifelong friend, page, and secretary, which nonetheless remains very historically accurate.

I finished this book tonight, and it is already among my favorite books I’ve ever read. If Twain’s portrayal of St. Joan is at all accurate, and it seems to be based on my outside research, then she was without doubt one of the most outstanding women in history (besides my lovely wife, of course). If you’re not familiar with her story, I’ll give you the rundown:

Her Story

It all happened during the medieval Hundred Years’ War between France and England, which had been raging for 92 years. The country was essentially divided in half, with the northern half firmly under the control of England. The southern half in theory still belonged the Charles VII, the Dauphin, heir of the French throne. This was meaningless, as he mostly was holding up in safety doing nothing while the English and French in his territory fought to no purpose but destruction. France’s situation was apparently hopeless. By the end of the hundred years, surely France would be naught but a British province.

In the midst of this turmoil, a 16-year-old peasant girl named Joan (or Jeanne in French) from the small village of Domrémy embarked on a strange quest. She claimed to have been told by angels and saints, which she called her Voices, that she was called by God to lead France to raise the ongoing siege of the city of Orléans, and to get the Dauphin crowned king at the city of Reims. This all seemed rather far-fetched, if not altogether impossible, but it worked. She impressed everyone she met along her journey, first securing a troop to go to the king at Chinon, then convincing the Dauphin to send her to Orléans to raise the siege, then actually raising the siege in only a week, and finally blazing a trail through enemy territory to the city of Reims, where the Dauphin was crowned king with Joan in a prominent place. All along the way, she demonstrated humility, mercy, intelligence, war prowess, bravery, and even prophetic abilities.

Alas, after her successes she fell victim to the evils of politics. She was not allowed to go home, but instead the king sent her out to continue her military work. Yet he also did not allow her to do what all she suggested. Because of the king and his advisors, she lost the chance to reclaim Paris, and in another battle was finally captured. She was ransomed by the English, who set up a series of brutally rigged trials for revenge against her victories. In the end, at the age of 19 she was burned at the stake as a heretic, primarily for cross-dressing (i.e. wearing men’s military attire in battle, and in her prison cell to prevent rape by guards). Twenty-five years later, the Pope ordered a retrial, in which she was declared innocent and a martyr.

Her Challenge

I already feel as if I have sorely mistreated St. Joan by giving her story in this painfully brief form. Alas, time fails me to tell of her many virtues. To this day we possess the full transcripts of both her trials, in which her character is plainly shown as sincere, honest, pious, merciful, bold, innocent, and chaste. No one ever did find any real fault in her. The closest thing to a flaw which can be found in history is her temper, which was only ever provoked by people misbehaving (e.g. she drove out the prostitutes from her army’s camp in a rage, and lambasted the king’s advisors for being manipulative cowards). Even as a war hero, she claimed to have never killed anyone, and to have loved her banner 40 times more than her sword (which she seems to have found miraculously).

I want to dwell for the rest of this post on the challenges presented by Joan of Arc to us. The first challenges I want to peek at are theological. Most of you readers are, like myself, Protestants. So St. Joan makes for an odd case. On the one hand, she shows all the signs of being truly of God. Her prophecies all came true, including ones made during her trial that came true after her death. Her character was impeccable. The tide she turned in the war came against all odds, comparable to Old Testament campaigns where God was with Israel. Her accusers at her trial tried relentlessly to find evidence that her Voices came from demons rather than angels or saints, yet never could. On the other hand, though, she was a devout Catholic, who claimed in particular that she spoke with dead saints, and certainly adhered to an unlearned, medieval Catholic view of the sacraments and salvation. The same Voices which gave her the fulfilled prophecies also told her very Catholic things about how she would be saved. What are the implications of all this? In addition, if she was of God, then God apparently didn’t give up getting His hands dirty in war and national conflict with the coming of Christ. Instead, He seems to have picked sides and led the French to impossible victory using a young peasant girl, something which sounds more like a story from the book of Judges. If she wasn’t from God, then why did she achieve so much of the impossible in His name, giving true prophecies and being remembered as a martyr? What does this mean for how God acts today?

But theological questions aside, I also want to briefly consider the practical challenge St. Joan puts to us. She was only an ignorant, illiterate, and humble peasant girl, yet she felt called by God to accomplish great things, and following faithfully all the way through. Through dangers, political opposition, and severe injuries (she was once actually shot in the neck by a crossbow!), she persevered. She never yielded to the pressures of fear and intimidation. Her faith in God always remained strong, so much so that the only leverage her enemies could use against her was her desire to continue taking Communion. She was committed to her personal purity, and the purity of her entire army. She made her soldiers pray and worship on a regular basis. All reports show she was selfless as could be. Even when the king offered to give her anything in repayment for her help in his coronation, she asked for nothing but that the poor people of her hometown, which she never saw again, be free of taxes. (This request, by the way, was granted and stood for 300 years until the French Revolution.) 

Basically, Joan of Arc was more noble, brave, persistent, and faithful than I am, and than many of us could ever hope to be. Even if she was crazy, or a heretic, or what have you (a question I think C. S. Lewis would have something to say about), the standard she sets is amazing and deserves emulation. We could all use to be a little more like Joan of Arc.

[P.S. For more on Joan of Arc, you can always check Wikipedia, or buy the book I read yourself.]

Another Morning Prayer

I ran across a great new morning prayer today, and though I’d share it for the benefit of all. It opens with the Lord’s Prayer, and then goes on thus:

Almighty and everlasting God, in whom I live and move and have my being; I, Your needy creature, render You my humble praises, for Your preservation of me from the beginning of my life to this day, and especially for having delivered me from the dangers of the past night. For these Your mercies, I bless and magnify Your glorious Name; humbly beseeching You to accept this my morning sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; for his sake who lay down in the grave, and rose again for us, Your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

And since it is of Your mercy, O gracious Father, that another day is added to my life; I here dedicate both my soul and my body to You and Your service, in a sober, righteous, and godly life: in which resolution, do, O merciful God, confirm and strengthen me; that, as I grow in age, I may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

But, O God, who knows the weakness and corruption of my nature, and the manifold temptations which I daily meet with; I humbly beseech You to have compassion on my infirmities, and to give me the constant assistance of Your Holy Spirit; that I may be effectually restrained from sin, and incited to my duty. Imprint upon my heart such a dread of Your judgments, and such a grateful sense of Your goodness to me, as may make me both afraid and ashamed to offend You. And, above all, keep in my mind a lively remembrance of that great day, in which I must give a strict account of my thoughts, words, and actions to him whom You have appointed the Judge of quick and dead, Your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

In particular, I implore Your grace and protection for the ensuing day. Keep me temperate in all things, and diligent in my calling. Grant me patience under my afflictions. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all men, according to my abilities and opportunities. Direct me in all my ways. Defend me from all dangers and adversities; and be graciously pleased to take me, and all who are dear to me, under Your fatherly care and protection. These things, and whatever else You shalt see to be necessary and convenient to me, I humbly beg, through the merits and mediation of Your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
Amen.

May the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with me and all who pray in the name of Christ, this day and evermore.
Amen.