A Prayer of John Donne’s

O Lord, I most humbly acknowledge and confesse, that I have understood sin, by understanding thy laws and judgments; but have done against thy known and revealed will.  Thou has set up many candlesticks, and kindled many lamps in mee; but I have either blown them out, or carried them to guide me in by and forbidden ways.  Thou hast given mee a desire of knowledg, and some meanes to it, and some possession of it; and I have arm’d my self with thy weapons against thee.  Yet, O God, have mercy upon me.  Let not sin and me be able to exceed thee, nor to defraud thee, nor to frustrate thy purposes:  But let me, in despite of Me, be of so much use to thy glory, that by thy mercy to my sin, others sinners may see how much sin thou canst pardon…

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