A Prayer Against The Temptations

O Thou, that keepest hell's abyss close-barr'd,
And o'er its gates hast set a constant guard,
That Satan hast enchain'd, and death o'erthrown,
Hear my complaint from thy celestial throne!

That bloody dragon, that malicious foe,
Whom thou didst bind, and gloriously o'erthrow,
Still plots my ruin - if thou wilt not deign
To grant thy help, his malice to restrain.

Both night and day, he roams with sleepless eyes,
And, like a lion, to destroy me tries;
For ever prompt and ready to devour,
Didst thou not shield me from his deadly pow'r!

Each night that comes, and each returning day,
He spreads his dang'rous toils a-cross my way,
And into them I tumble unawares,
If thou dost not preserve me from his snares.

There's no forbidden fruit, of pleasing hue,
But he presents it daily to my view -
There is no sin, but he wou'd tempt me to,
That I may make my gracious God, my foe.

There's no good act, on which my soul's intent,
Which the fell fiend attempts not to prevent -
And oft, too oft! his curs'd attempt succeeds,
And puts a stop to my best minded deeds.

I cannot eat a bit of bread in peace,
I cannot take a wink of sleep at ease,
I cannot drink, or any work begin,
But he assays to turn it all to sin.

I cannot e'en a single sentence say,
I cannot even bend my knees to pray,
But Satan all his efforts still applies,
To make me sin - e'en at my pray'rs he tries:

Nay, O my Saviour! when I'm most inclin'd
To worship thee, with all my heart and mind,
Then most he aims my purpose to prevent,
By all the various wiles he can invent!

And shou'dst thou let him loose, without controul
And due restraint, to over-pow'r my soul,
Worse then, I'm well-convinc'd, wou'd be my case
Than that of Job, and all his former race.

Observe, O Lord! his bloody minded hate,
His roar suppress, his daring pride abate,
Fetter his feet, and bruise his baneful head,
Shorter his chain - let not his poison spread.

Thou hast, O Christ! the dreadful dragon bound,
Thou both his thighs didst with thy chain surround,
Thou didst despoil him of his boasted arms,
Thou hast preserv'd our souls from all alarms.

Let us in thy bright panoply be drest,
Infuse thy mighty Spirit in each breast,
Teach thou our hands to war, with skill and might,
And let us not be vanquish'd in the fight.

Let not the serpent, our frail souls beguile,
Let not the dragon, thy weak servants foil,
Let not the lion, thy elect undo,
Let not the fiend, thy faithful sons subdue.

Lo! we are weak, and he is form'd for war;
But thou, O Christ! art stronger yet by far :
On us, some portion of thy might bestow,
And then, tho' weak, we shall o'ercome the foe.

Wise is the serpent, we, alas! but dull,
The dragon too, is of devices full:
If therefore thou shalt not thine aid afford,
The fiend will steal thy ransom'd flock, O Lord!

Make us all wise, to see each wily snare,
Wary, that we may of his nets beware,
Strong, to resist the efforts, he may use,
And cautious - all his efforts to refuse.

With favour on thy servants, Lord! look down,
Assist thy brethren to obtain the crown,
And all, who fight beneath thy banner, aid,
To bear their cross, and crush the serpent's head.

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