Editor's note:

Christian Simplicity is not the renunciation of wealth—it is singleness of mind on Jesus Christ. “It means,” says Richard Foster in Freedom of Simplicity, “being cognizant of many issues while having only one issue at the center—holy obedience.” God calls some to take a vow of poverty and others, like Thomas Maclellan (1837-1916), are called to business. All of us are called to be rich toward God (Luke 12:21).

It is difficult to imagine any modern twenty year old penning a prayer with the depth and power of this one by Thomas Maclellan in 1857. This covenant set the foundation not only for his life but also for the family business for generations to come. Thomas, a man of modest means but strong faith and discipline, invested in the fledgling Provident Insurance Company. The company grew rapidly and in 1910 went public with Thomas serving as president until his death six years later. In 1945, Thomas’ son, Robert, formed the Maclellan foundation which has to date given over $500 million to charitable causes.

—Brian Morykon

Eternal, unchangeable and ever blessed God! Creator of Heaven and earth, the All in All! I now fall down before Thy throne and prostrate myself at Thy footstool, and earnestly pray that Thou wouldst penetrate my heart with a suitable sense of Thine infinite and unutterable glories – When I present myself before Thee, the Holy Majesty of Heaven, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords; trembling may justly take hold of me – and that more especially on such an occasion as the present when I would desire to enter into a covenant transaction with Thee - What am I that I should desire to be one party in a covenant where Thou art the other.

Well may I, a poor sinful worm, be confounded even to mention such a thing. I acknowledge, O Lord, that I have been a great transgressor. Thou broughtest me into being on this day twenty years ago, and Thou has preserved me and renewed my life day by day ever since, yet I have rebelled against Thee. During the whole of that time I have lived without Thee in the world. I was dedicated to Thee in baptism and about two years ago I confirmed that act at the Table of the Lord. Still, I confess, with grief and shame, I did not “depart from all iniquity”.

But, O Lord, Thou art a God that pardonest iniquity and though great is Thy majesty, so also is Thy mercy. Through Jesus Christ Thou can descendest to visit poor sinners, and it is Thy grace that has inclined my heart to this act of dedication of myself to Thee. I come, therefore, invited by the name of Thy Son and trusting wholly in His righteousness and grace. For His sake, do Thou be merciful to my unrighteousness and my sins and iniquities do Thou remember no more. Receive me, I beseech Thee, and make me to desire nothing so much as that I may be Thine, who art my rightful owner and sovereign Ruler. O God of Heaven, record it in the book of Thy remembrances that from henceforth I am Thine forever. I renounce all former lords that have had dominion over me and consecrate all that I am and all that I have, the faculties of my mind, the members of my body, my worldly possessions, my time, and my influence over others, all to be used entirely for Thy glory and resolutely employed in obedience to Thy commands as long as Thou continuest me in life.

In this course, O blessed God, would I steadily persevere to the very end of my life, earnestly praying that every future day of it may supply the deficiencies and correct the irregularities of the former; and that I may, by divine grace, be enabled, not only to hold on in that happy way, but daily to grow more active in it. To Thy direction also, I resign myself and all that I have to be disposed of by Thee as Thou shalt see fit. To Thee I leave the management of all events and desire that Thou enable me to say, without reserve, not my will but Thine be done. Knowing that Thou governest all things wisely and will ever do that which is best for me.

Use me, O Lord, I beseech Thee as an instrument for Thy service. May I bring some avenue of praise to Thee, and of benefit to the world in which I dwell. From this day forward, number me among Thy peculiar people and make me a fellow citizen with the Saints and of the household of God. Wash me in the blood of Thy dear Son. Clothe me with His righteousness. Sanctify me throughout by the power of Thy Spirit. Destroy, I beseech Thee, more and more the power of sin in my heart. Transform me to the resemblance of Jesus, whom henceforth I would acknowledge as my Teacher and Sacrifice, my Intercessor and my Lord. Communicate, I beseech Thee, to me all needful influences of Thy purifying, Thy cheering, and Thy comforting Spirit. And lift up that light of Thy countenance upon me which will put the sublimest joy and gladness into my soul.

What more can I say. Let the remembrance of this solemn act be before mine eyes every day of my life. And, O Lord, I beseech Thee to give me grace whereby I may be enabled to perform these vows. Give me of Thine own wherewith I may serve Thee. O deny me not Thy grace. Make me to remember that the vows of the Lord are upon me and that it is better not to vow than to vow and not to pay. And, O God, when I have done and borne Thy will upon earth, call me from hence at what time and in what manner Thou pleasest. And grant in my dying moments and in the near prospect of eternity I may remember these my engagements to Thee and may employ my latest breath in Thy service. And do Thou, O Lord, remember it too. Look down with pity on Thy languishing dying child. Place Thine everlasting arms beneath me for my support; put strength and confidence into my departing spirit and receive it to the embraces of Thine everlasting love. Receive it to the abodes of them that sleep in Jesus, peacefully and joyfully to wait the accomplishment of Thy great promise to all Thy people, even that of a glorious resurrection and of eternal happiness in Thy Heavenly presence.

And if this should fall into the hands of any of my friends when I am in the dust may they make the engagement their own; and do Thou graciously admit them to partake in all the blessings of Thy covenant Through Jesus, the great Mediator of it. May they learn to fear the Lord my God, and with me to put their trust under the shadow of His wings, for time and for eternity. And may they also learn to adore with me that grace which inclines our hearts to enter into the covenant, and condescends to admit us unto it when so inclined, ascribing with me and with all the nations of the redeemed, to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, that glory, honor and praise which is so justly due to each divine person for the part he bears in this illustrious work! Amen.