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Self-examination for every night..
Grant, oh God,
that I may look upon my heart
with a stern, unflinching, and impartial eye;
that I may be enabled to discover
all the sins and faults I have committed this day,
and all the secret iniquities
that may be at the bottom of my heart.
Oh, mercifully grant
that the examination I am about to make,
may be strict and just;
that no sinful love of self
may blind me to my faults.
Permit every iniquity I have committed this day,
either in deed, or word, or thought,
to come forth clear and light,
as if my heart and thoughts
were laid bare before me.
Grant this, oh God,
that I may become good and worthy
in thy sight. —
What have been my employments the whole of this day?
Did I commence this day by devotion?
Did my thoughts wander while saying my prayers?
Have I allowed my thoughts to be fixed so much on any subject
as to render it difficult to turn them thence to God,
or other serious subjects?
Have I used His Holy name, or other sacred terms,
needlessly or profanely?
Have I been obedient and affectionate to my parents?
Have I slighted their wishes,
and been careless and inattentive
in my conduct towards them?
Have I in thought committed sin
and accused them of injustice or impatience?
Have I done any act of unkindness towards my brothers?
Have I given way to uncalled-for anger or vexation?
Did I bear and forbear?
Have I given way to irritation or impatience?
Have I adhered, in word and thought, to truth,
or permitted idle forms, or the wish to excite attention,
to make me utter falsehoods or exaggerate?
Have I felt envy
at the talents, virtues, beauty, praise,
of my fellow creatures?
Have I attended to my domestic and social duties
Have I given up my own inclinations,
when called upon to do so?
Have I gained any victory
over my dearest wishes
Have I resisted any temptation?
Have I done all I had determined to do to-day?
Has any amusement gained undue ascendancy,
and to indulge it have I given up any duty?
Have I felt irritated
when told of my faults and errors,
Has love of God, or love of praise,
gained ascendancy in any of my actions this day?
Have I wasted my time in idleness or folly?
Have I during this day walked with God;
that is, have I thought of Him in all my employments,
have I inwardly remembered Him?
For what blessings vouchsafed me this day,
ought I to be thankful?
Am I in a fit temper of mind to address my God?
Oh, Almighty Father,
I wish to become a good and faithful servant of Thy law.
I desire my heart to be filled with love of Thee.
Bend Thy gracious ear to the confession I have made.
Forgive mine iniquity, for it is great.
Draw nigh unto me, oh God.
Have compassion on the weakness of Thy creature.
Remove from me these sins,
cleanse me, if it be by fire.
Let me be worthy in Thy sight,
even if I become so by chastisement and sorrow.
If I have done any trifling good,
if I have performed my earthly duties
in a manner pleasing to Thee, my Heavenly Father,
oh forgive my sins,
and guard me against them in the future,
that each day I may draw nearer to my God,
and each night my heart may glow
Blessed be the name of the High and Mighty God,
now and evermore! —
“Self-Examination for Every Night” by Grace Aguilar was published posthumously by her mother Sarah Aguilar Essays and Miscellanies (1853), in the section “Sacred Communings” (1852), pp. 165-168. Another, shorter version of this prayer with fewer questions, appears under the title “Self-Examination” in Sabbath Thoughts and Sacred Communings (1853), pp. 97-98.
“Self-examination for every night [version 1], by Grace Aguilar (ca. 1830s)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
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