The Dark Guest

O Lord,

Bend our hands and cut them off, for we have often struck You with wayward wills, when these fingers should embrace You by faith.

We are not yet weaned from all created glory, honor, wisdom, and esteem of others, for we have a secret motive to eye our names in all we do.

Let us not only speak the word sin, but see the thing itself.

Give us to view a discovered sinfulness, to know that though our sins are crucified they are never wholly mortified.

 

Hatred, malice, ill-will, vain-glory that hungers for and hunts after man's approval and applause, all are crucified, forgiven, but they rise again in our sinful hearts.

O our crucified but never wholly mortified sinfulness! O our life-long damage and daily shame! O our indwelling and besetting sins! O the tormenting slavery of a sinful heart!

 

Destroy, O God, the dark guest within whose hidden presence makes our lives a hell.

 

Yet You have not left us here without grace; The cross still stands and meets our needs in the deepest straits of the soul.

We thank You that our remembrance of it is like David's sight of Goliath's sword which preached forth Your deliverance.

 

The memory of our great sins, our many temptations, our falls, bring afresh into our minds the remembrance of Your great help, of Your support from heaven, of the great grace that saved such wretches as we are.

 

There is no treasure so wonderful as that continuous experience of Your grace toward us, which alone can subdue the risings of sin within:

 

Give us more of it.

 

Amen.