Governor Clarkson's Prayer for Sierra Leone
O Lord, I beseech thee favourably to hear the prayer of him who wishes to be thy servant, and pardon him for presuming to address thee from this sacred place. O God, I know my own infinity and unworthiness, and I know thine abundant mercies to those who wish to be guided by thy will. Support me. O Lord, with thy heavenly grace, and to enable me to conduct myself through this earthly life that my actions may be consistent with the words I have uttered this day. Thou knowest that I am now about to depart from this place, and to leave the people whom it has pleased thee to entrust to my care. Guide them, O merciful God, in the paths of truth and let not a few wicked men among us draw down thy vengeance upon this Colony.
In graft into their hearts a proper sense of duty, and enable them through thy grace to conduct themselves as Christians, that they may not come to thy house without that pleasing emotion which every grateful man must feel when paying adoration to the Author of life. But I have a great reason to fear, O Lord, that many who frequent thy church do not approach thy presence as becomes them, and that they may partly be compared to the Scribes. Pharisees, and hypocrites. Pardon, O God, their infirmities, and as thou knowest their weakness from the manner in which they have formerly been treated, and the little opportunity they have had of knowing thy will and getting acquainted with the merits of thy Son, our saviour Jesus Christ, look down upon them with an eye of mercy and suffer them not to incur thy displeasure, after they have had an opportunity of being instructed in the ways of thy commandments.
Bless, O Lord, the inhabitants of this vast continent, and incline their hearts towards us that they may more readily listen to our advice and doctrines, and that we may conduct ourselves towards them as to convince them of the happiness we enjoy under thy almighty protection. Banish from this Colony, O Lord all heathenish superstition and let the inhabitants know that thou art the only true Lord in which we live and move and have our being. If these people who protest thy religion will not be assured of thy superior power, convince them. O God, of Thine anger for their profession without their practice, for thou knowest I brought them here in hopes of making them and their families happy, both in this world and to all eternity.
But I fear they may not be governed by my advice, and that they themselves and their children forever by their perverse and general behavior. I entreat thee not to let their evil example ruin the great cause in which we have embarked, but I would rather see that place in ashes and every wicked person destroyed, than that the chance we have now an opportunity of bringing to the light and knowledge of thy holy religion should, from the wickedness of a few individuals will continue in their accustomed darkness and barbarism. They know that I have universally talked of their apparent virtue the goodness, and have praised thy name for having permitted me to be the servant employed in so great and glorious a cause. If I have been deceived, I am sorry for it, and may thy will be done; but I implore thee to accept the sincerity of my intentions and my best endeavours to improve the talent committed to my case. Only pardon the intuity of my nature, and I will trust to thy mercy.
Should any person have a wicked thought in his heart or do anything knowledge to disturb the peace and comfort of our Colony, let him be rooted out O God, from off the face of the earth; but have mercy upon him hereafter.
Were I to utter all that my heart now indicates, no time would be sufficient for any praise and thanksgiving for all the mercies. Thou has vouchsafed to show me, but as thou art acquainted with every secret of my heart, accept my thoughts for thanks. I have no words left to express my gratitude and resignation to thy will. I entreat thee, O God, if nothing I can say will convince these people of thy power and goodness, make use of me in anyway thou pleasest, to make an atonement for their guilt. This is an awful and I fear too presumptuous, a request; yet if it should be thy will that I should lay down my life for the cause I have embarked in, assist me, O Lord with thy support, that I may resign it in such a manner as to convince these unbelieving people that thou art God indeed. May the heart of this Colony, O Lord, imbibe the spirit of meekness, gentleness, and truth; and may they henceforth live in unity and godly love, following as far as the weakness of their mortal natures will admit, that most excellent and faultless pattern which thou hast given us in thy Son our Saviors, Jesus Christ, to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit be all honour and glory, now and forever. Amen.