Henry Scougal’s Daily Prayers for St Machar’s Cathedral
THE EVENING SERVICE
Almighty and eternal God, who dwellest in the highest heavens, and humblest Thyself to behold the things that are done on the face of the earth ; we are assembled together in Thy sanctuary to offer our evening sacrifice unto Thee.
But we may justly be ashamed at the thoughts of Thy glory, and afraid to present ourselves before so great and holy a majesty. Even that abounding grace that invites us to Thee may make us blush and cover our faces for shame, when we reflect on our base ingratitude to so much undeserved love.
It was Thou who madest us, and not we ourselves ; and Thou sent us Thy Son to die for us, and offerest us the assistance of the Holy Ghost to bring us unto Thyself. But we have not paid that honour and service which we owed unto Thee, our Almighty Creator ; nor valued as we ought that great salvation purchased for us at so dear a rate ; nor duly followed the godly motion of Thy Holy Spirit. We have many times neglected the duties of Thy worship, and profaned Thy holy ordinances ; we have abused Thy mercies, and murmured against Thy rods, and seldom set Thee before our eyes : and whereas Thou hast commanded us to love our neighbours as ourselves, we have also been very injurious to them by evil counsel and bad example, by prejudging their interest and wronging their reputation, by doing them hurt, or neglecting to do them good.
And though we were made for no meaner happiness than the enjoyment of Thy Blessed Self, yet we have set our hearts too much on worldly pleasures and enjoyments ; and instead of that moderate use of Thy good creatures which Thou art pleased to allow us, have abused them by excess unto the prejudice of our souls.
Thus, Lord, we have sinned against our knowledge and our vows, against Thy promises and threatenings, and all the gracious methods Thou hast used to reclaim us ; and do therefore deserve Thy wrath, and all the dreadful effects of it, as the just recompense of our offences.
Nay, we acknowledge, O God, the very sins of this day were enough to condemn us : for we have done little good and much evil since the beginning of it ; our thoughts have been vain and trifling, our words foolish or sinful, our actions for the greatest part either evil or to little purpose : and though we be one day, now, nearer our graves, we have made little progress in that work for which Thou hast sent us into the world. And now, while we are confessing these things unto Thee, the little sensibleness of our hearts brings new accusations against us. Oh ! how just were it with Thee that we should lament these follies and sins unto all eternity, which we now confess with so little grief and bitterness of spirit.
But though we be among the chief of sinners, yet Thou art our Creator, and we the workmanship of Thy hands ; Yea, Thou art our Redeemer, and we Thy people whom Thou hast bought : and we desire to forsake the evil of our ways, and turn to Thee, the Lord our God, from whom we have gone so far astray
Have mercy upon us, therefore, O most merciful Father, for Thy goodness' sake ; and for the merits of the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, blot out all our iniquities. By His agony and bloody sweat, by His death and bitter passion, by all that He hath done and suffered for us, deliver us from the guilt of our sins, and the power of our corrupt affections ; and work in our souls an utter detestation of every evil way.
Enlighten our minds with true knowledge; purify our hearts with a lively faith and hope. Inflame our souls with a zealous affection towards Thee, and love towards all men for Thy sake; that it may be our greatest delight to advance Thy honour and glory, and do all the good we can to those amongst whom we live. Make us humble and lowly in our own eyes, meek and patient in our conversing with others ; never doing wrong to any, and being ready to pardon the greatest injuries done to ourselves. Teach us to be submissive to all Thy dispensations, and cheerful and well content in every condition Thou shalt be pleased to carve out unto us. Make us sober and temperate in all our enjoyments, pure and chaste in all our affections and behaviour, watchful against every temptation, and diligent in the performance of all our duties. Let the life of the holy Jesus be always in our thoughts and before our eyes ; that being in love with all those excellent graces which stirred in His blessed soul, we may never cease our endeavour till the image of our Lord and Saviour be fully formed within our hearts.
And grant, O most merciful Father, that the reading and hearing of Thy Holy Word at this time may help us thereunto ; and let the glory of all redound unto Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
THE EVENING PRAYER
After the Reading, TE DEUM LAUDAMUS, We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord, &c., to this sentence, Govern them and lift them up for ever.
Let peace be to our mother, Sion ; and let them prosper that love her, and seek her good.
Bless and protect our Sovereign Lord the King. Establish His throne in righteousness, and let the crown flourish on His head. Bless his Queen, and brother, and all his Royal relations. Let the Lords of His Majesty's Privy Council, the Senators of the College of Justice, and all inferior judges and magistrates, be so directed and assisted by Thy grace, that we may live quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty.
Send down upon Thy servants the Bishops and Pastors of Thy Church such a plentiful measure of Thy Holy Spirit, as the weight and difficulty of their work doth require; and let them see of the fruit of their labours. And for a perpetual succession of those who may serve Thee in Church and State, bless all schools and seminaries of learning, especially the University of this place; and prosper the labours of Masters and Scholars, that piety and knowledge may flourish therein.
Be gracious to all ranks and conditions of men, and bless them with true piety, and with endowments suitable to their callings, and let success accompany their lawful endeavours.
And as Thou hast commanded us to remember in our prayers the troubles and necessities of others, so we humbly entreat Thee to look down with compassion on the necessities and calamities of mankind, and pity the works of Thy hands. Have mercy, Lord, on idiots and fools, all mad and distracted persons, and supply the want of their reason by the conduct of Thy providence and assistance of Thy Divine wisdom.
Speak peace to wounded consciences, and grant them the joy of Thy salvation, so as the bones which Thou hastbroken may rejoice. Visit those whom Thou hast cast on the bed of languishing, especially those that are recommended to the aid of our prayers. Send a happy deliverance to women travailing in child-birth ; and be near unto such as are drawing near the gates of death. Comfort all those that are afflicted by loss of friends, or any disastrous accident. Hear the cries of the poor, the sighs of the prisoner and captive, and the groans of all that are oppressed.
Be a father to the fatherless, a husband to the widow, a guide to wandering travellers, a pilot to those that go down to the deep. And when any do cry unto Thee in their troubles, hear and deliver them out of their distress ; that with hearts full of thankfulness they may praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.
Be mindful of all them in whom we are nearly concerned ; all our friends and relations, all our neighbours and acquaintances, all our well-wishers and benefactors. Pardon and forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers.
We bless Thee for that gracious providence whereby Thou hast protected and maintained us through the bygone day ; and we commend ourselves and all we have to Thy fatherly goodness and care through the darkness of the night : that when we cannot take care of ourselves we may rest safely under the shadow of Thy wings, and Thou, O Lord, mayest sustain us. Defend us graciously from fire and violence, and all the powers of darkness ; and raise our spirits, together with our bodies, in the morning, to such a vigorous sense of Thy continued goodness, as may stir us up to serve Thee with unwearied diligence all the day long.
These things, and whatever else Thou knowest needful and expedient for us or for others, we beg in the Name and words of Thy Son our Saviour, &c.