Man a Nothing
A Puritan prayer of repentance from the Valley of Vision:
O Lord, I am a shell full of dust, but animated with an invisible rational soul and made anew by an unseen power of grace;
Yet I am no object of valuable price, but one that has nothing and is nothing, although chosen of thee from eternity, given to Christ, and born again;
I am deeply convinced of the evil and misery of a sinful state, of the vanity of creatures, but also of the sufficiency of Christ.
When you would guide me I control myself, when you would be sovereign I rule myself. When you would take care of me I suffice myself. When I should depend on your providings I supply myself, when I should submit to your providence I follow my will, when I should study, love, honor, trust thee, I serve myself;
I fault and correct your laws to suit myself. Instead of thee I look to man's approbation, and am by nature an idolater.
Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to thee. Convince me that I cannot be my own God, or make myself happy, nor my own Christ to restore my joy, nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, rule me.
Help me to see that grace does this by provisional affliction, for when my credit is good thou dost cast me lower, when riches are my idol thou dost wing them away, when pleasure is my all thou dost turn it into bitterness.
Take away my roving eye, curious ear, greedy appetite, lustful heart. Show me that none of these things can heal a wounded conscience, or support a tottering frame, or uphold a departing spirit. Then take me to the cross and leave me there.
("Man A Nothing," Valley of Vision, p.166-167).
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