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December 31 1812: A Prayer


On December 31 1812, in St Petersburg, John Quincy Adams offers up a prayer as 1812 comes to an end. He writes in his  diary: 
31st. I offer to a merciful God at the close of this year my humble tribute of gratitude for the blessings with which He has in the course of it favored me and those who are dear to me, and I pray for a continuance of his goodness. Above all, I pray that He who worketh in us both to will and to do, may grant to me and mine that temper of heart and that firmness of soul which are best adapted duly to receive all his dispensations, whether joyous or afflictive. It has pleased Him in the course of this year to lay his chastening hand upon me, and to try me with bitter sorrow. My endeavors to quell the rebellion of the heart have been sincere, and have been assisted with the blessing from above. As I advance in life its evils multiply, the instances of mortality become more frequent, and approach nearer to myself. The greater is the need of fortitude to encounter the woes that flesh is heir to, and of religion to support pains for which there is no other remedy. Religious sentiments become from day to day more constantly habitual to my mind. They are perhaps too often seen in this journal. 
God alone can make even religion a virtue, and to Him I look for aid, that mine may degenerate into no vicious excess. For the future time may the favor of God, which passeth all understanding, rest upon my parents, my wife, and all my children, my kindred, friends, and country ; nor at this moment can I forbear to include in my petitions the welfare of all human kind I For myself, may the divine energies be granted to perform fully all my duties to God, to my fellow-mortals in all the relations of life, and to my own soul.

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