O Life of all the contented, who grantest the desires of the desirous: the acts in me that are right, Thou makest so,--Thou, kinder to me than I am to myself. No bounds are set to Thy mercy, no interruption appears in Thy bounty. Whatever Thou givest, give thy slave piety; accept of him and set him near Thyself. Gladden my heart with the thought of the holiness of religion; make fire of my human body of dust and wind. It is Thine to show mercy and to forgive, mine to stumble and to fall. I am not wise,--receive me, though drunk; I have slipped, take Thou my hand. I know full well that Thou hidest me. Thy screening of me has made me proud. I know not what has been from all eternity condemned to rejection; I know not who will be called at the last, I have no power to anger or to reconcile Thee, nor does my adulation advantage Thee. My straying heart now seeks return to Thee; my uncleanness is drenched by the pupil of my eye.
Show my straying heart a path, open a door before the pupil of my eye, that it may not be proud before Thy works, that it may have no fear before Thy might. O Thou who shepherdest this flock with Thy mercy,--but what speech is all this? they are all Thee. . . . . Show Thou mercy on my soul and on my clay, that my soul's sorrow may be assuaged within me. Do Thou cherish me, for others are hard; do Thou receive me, for others themselves are rent asunder.
How can I be intimate with other than Thee? They are dead, Thou art my sufficient Friend. What is to me the bounty of Theeness and doubleness, so long as I believe that I am I, and Thou art Thou? What to me is all this smoke, in face of Thy fire? Since Thou
art, let the existence of all else cease; the world's existence consists in the wind of Thy favour, O Thou, injury from whom is better than the world's gain.
I know not what sort of man he is, who in his folly can ever have sufficiency of Thee. Can a man remain alive without Thy succour, or exist apart from Thy favour? How can he grieve who possesses Thee; or how can he prosper who is without Thee? That of which Thou saidst, Eat not, I have eaten; and what Thou forbadest, that have I done; yet if I possess Thee, I am a coin of pure gold, and without Thee, I am a mill-wheel's groaning. I am in an agony for fear of death; be Thou my life, that I die not. Why sendest Thou Thy word and sword to me? Alas for me, who am I apart from Thee?
If Thou receive me, O Thou dependent on no cause, what matters the good or ill of a handful of dust? This is the dust's high honour, that its speech should be in praise of Thee; Thy glory has taken away the dust's dishonour, has exalted its head even to the Throne. Hadst Thou not given the word of permission, who, for that he is so far from Thee, could utter Thy name? Mankind would not have dared to praise Thee in their imperfect speech. What is to be found in our
reason or our drunkenness? for we are not, nor have we an existence.
Though we be full of self, purify us from our sins; by some way of deliverance save me from destruction. In presence of Thy decree, though I be wisdom's self, yet who am I that I should count as either good or evil? My evil becomes good when Thou acceptest it; my good, evil when Thou refusest it.
O Thou art all, O Lord, both my good and ill; and, wonderful to say, no ill comes from Thee! Only an evil-doer commits evil; Thou canst only be described as altogether good; Thou willest good for Thy servants continually, but the servants themselves know naught of Thee. Within this veil of passion and desire our ignorance can only ask for pardon at the hands of Thy Omniscience. If we have behaved like dogs in our duty, Thou hast found no tigerishness in us,--then pass over our offence. As we stand, awaiting the fulfilment of Thy promised kindness at the bountiful door of the Court of Thy generosity, on Thy side all is abundance; the falling short is in our works.