Vain Service (from The Valley of Vision)

O my Lord,
Forgive me for serving thee in sinful ways –
by glorying in my own strength,
by forcing myself to minister through
necessity,
by accepting the applause of others,
by trusting in assumed grace
and spiritual affection,
by a faith that rests upon my hold on Christ,
not on him alone,
by having another foundation to stand upon
beside thee;
for thus I make flesh my arm.
Help me to see
that it is faith stirred by grace that does the deed,
that faith brings a man nearer to thee,
raising him above mere man,
that thou dost act upon the soul
when thus elevated and lifted out of itself,
that faith centres in thee as God all-sufficient,
Father, Son, Holy Spirit,
as God efficient,
mediately, as in thy commands and promises,
immediately, in all the hidden power
that faith sees and knows to be in thee,
abundantly, with omnipotent effect,
in the revelation of thy will.
If I have not such faith I am nothing.
It is my duty to set thee above all others
in mind and eye;
But it is my sin that I place myself above thee.
Lord, it is the special evil of sin
that every breach of thy law arises
from contempt of thy Person,
from despising thee and thy glory,
from preferring things before thee.
Help me to abhor myself in comparison of thee,
And keep me in a faith that works by love,
and serves by grace.

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