XXII. A devout Resignation of Self to the divine Power and Goodness.

My all-sufficient Friend, my Shield, and my exceeding great Reward! I have enough: Unbounded Avarice can covet nothing beyond Thee; the Soul whom thou dost [87] not suffice, deserves to be eternally poor. Thou art my supreme Happiness, my voluntary Choice: I took thy Love alone for my Treasure in that blest Day when I enter’d into Covenant with thee, and became thine: I made no Articles with thee for the Friendships, the Honours and Pleasures of the World; but solemnly renounced them all, and chose thy Favour for my single Inheritance, leaving the Conduct of my Life entirely to thee.

These were my Vows, and these I have often renew’d; and shall I now retract such scared Obligations, and alter a Choice so just and reasonable? Forbid it, gracious God! Let me never be guilty of such Madness: The World has often disappointed my most confident Expectations, but thou hast never deceiv’d me. In all my distress I have found thee a certain Refuge, my Shield, my Fortress, my high Tower, my Deliverer, my Rock and he in whom I trust. When there was none to save me, thy powerful Hand has set me free; thou hast redress’d my Grievances, and dissipated my Fears; thou hast brought me Light out of Obscurity, and turn’d my Darkness into Day.

When the World could afford me nothing but Tempest and Disorder, with thee I have [88] found Repose and undisturb’d Tranquillity. Thou hast been my long-experience’d Refuge, my unfailing Confidence, and I stedfastly depend on thee for my future Conduct. I cannot err when guided by infinite Wisdom; I must be safe in the Arms of eternal Love, to which I humbly resign myself. Let me have Riches or Poverty, Honour or Contempt; whatever comes from thy Hands shall be thankfully receiv’d. I would hear no voice but thine, nor make a Step but where I am following thee.

If thou wouldst leave me to chuse for myself, I would resign the Choice again to thee. I dread nothing more than the Guidance of my own blind Desires; I tremble at the Thoughts of such a fatal Liberty: Avert, gracious God, that miserable Freedom. Thou foresees all events, and at one single View dost look thro’ eternal Consequences; therefore do thou determine my Circumstances, not to gratify my own wild Desires, but to advance thy Glory.

Thou hast an unquestion’d Right to dispose of me; I am thine by necessary Ties and voluntary Engagements, which I thankfully acknowledge and solemnly renew: Deliberately and entirely I put myself into thy [89] Hands. Whatever Interest I have in this World I sacrifice to thee, and leave my dearest Enjoyments to thy Disposal, acknowledging it my greatest Happiness to be guided by thee.

Lord! What is Man, that thou art mindful of him? that thou who are supremely bless’d, and independently happy, shouldst concern thyself with human Affairs, and condescend to make our Wants as much thy Care as if mortal Miseries could reach thee, and interrupt immortal Blessedness. Thou would’st make us sensible of thine Indulgence by the most tender Similitudes: A Father’s gentle Care but faintly shadows thine, and all we can conceive of human Pity falls short of thy Compassion. Thou dost seem to share in our Calamities, and sympathize in all our Grief. No Friend flies to our Assistance with half the Speed that Love brings thee, nor canst thou ever want Methods to relieve those that confide in thee.

Thy Providence finds or makes it Way thro’ all Oppositions: The Streams shall roll back to their Fountains, the Sun shall stand still, and the Course of Nature be revers’d, rather than thou want Means to bring thy Purposes to pass. No Obstacle puts a Stand [90] to thy Designs, nor obstructs thy Methods: ’Tis thy Will that makes Nature and Necessity: Who can stay thy hand, or say until thee, What dost thou? Thy Counsel shall stand, and thou wilt do all thy Pleasure. Nothing is impossible for thee to accomplish: wherever I cast my Eyes, I see Instances of thy Power: The extended Firmament, the Sun and Stars, tell me what thou art able to perform; they attest thy Omnipotence, and rebuke my Unbelief. The whole Creation pleads for thee, and condemns my Infidelity.

Almighty God, forgive my Diffidence, while I confess ‘’tis most inexcusable. Thy Hand is not shorten’d, nor are the ’springs of thy Bounty seal’d; thy antient Miracles have not exhausted thy strength, nor hath perpetual Beneficence impoverish’d thee; thy Power remains undiminish’d, and thy Mercy endureth for ever. That dazzling Attribute surrounds me with transporting Glories: Which Way soever I turn, I meet the bright Conviction: I cannot recal a Day of my past Life on which some Signature of thy Goodness is not stamp’d.

Oh! who hath tasted of thy Clemency

In greater measure or more oft than I? [91]

Which Way soe’er I turn my Face or Feet,

I see thy Mercy and thy Glory meet.

In whatever thou hast granted, or whatever thou hast deny’d me, thy Beneficence has been mingled with every Dispensation; thou hast not taken the Advantage of my Follies, nor been severe to my Sins; but has remember’d my Frame, and treated me with the utmost Indulgence. Glory be to thy Name for ever.

Text: Elizabeth Singer Rowe, Devout Exercises of the Heart in Meditation and Soliloquy, Prayer and Praise. By the late Pious and Ingenious Mrs. Rowe. Review’d and Published at her Request by I. Watts, D. D. (London: Printed for R. Hett, at the Bible and Crown in the Poultry. M.DCC.XXXVIII [1738]), pp. 87-91.