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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

An Evening Prayer by Jane Austen

 

The religious side of Jane Austen and her home life have been seriously neglected and ignored.  Obviously, the world doesn’t want to acknowledge that such a writer as she might have had other things in life that she held more dear than her own novels.  This prayer that she wrote and which was preserved by her sister Cassandra, shows a very different side to her than has been generally presented.

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Father of Heaven! whose goodness has brought us in safety to the close of this day, dispose our hearts in fervent prayer.  Another day is now gone, and added to those, for which we were before accountable.

Teach us almighty Father, to consider this solemn truth, as we should do, that we may feel the importance of every day, and every hour as it passes, and earnestly strive to make a better use of what thy goodness may yet bestow on us, than we have done of the time past.

Give us grace to endeavour after a truly Christian spirit to seek to attain that temper of forbearance and patience of which our blessed Saviour has set us the highest example; and which, while it prepares us for the spiritual happiness of the life to come, will secure to us the best enjoyment of what this world can give.

Incline us, O God, to think humbly of ourselves, to be severe only in the examination of our own conduct, to consider our fellow-creatures with kindness, and to judge of all they say and do with that charity which we would desire from them ourselves.

We thank thee with all our hearts for every gracious dispensation, for all the blessings that have attended our lives, for every hour of safety, health and peace, of domestic comfort and innocent enjoyment.

We feel that we have been blessed far beyond any thing that we have deserved; and though we cannot but pray for a continuance of all these mercies, we acknowledge our unworthiness of them and implore thee to pardon the presumption of our desires.

Keep us O Heavenly Father from evil this night. Bring us in safety to the beginning of another day and grant that we may rise again with every serious and religious feeling which now directs us.

- Jane Austen

Psalms 55:16-17  As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

4 comments:

  1. Wow! I had no idea! That is very interesting and shows a totally different aspect of her life...!

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    1. I thought so too. I read an interesting article on her as well, but it was a bit scholastic in nature, so I didn't link to it. It sounded, though, like she was more involved in charity and other home oriented projects than in writing novels. She died very young.

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    2. I often wondered what she would have produced if she had lived longer. Considering she only wrote 6 books, she certainly had plenty of time on her hands and I am sure (like other women of her class and time) she would have helped the poor in her community - as portrayed in her book Emma.

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    3. Joluise, her father was a rector of the Anglican church, as you may know, so I expect that she found useful things to do in the line of ministry. She started writing very young, which is the more amazing considering the depth of her novels and their staying power.

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