- for the use of those Employed at the Erection of
Bell Rock Light-House
(Composed by the Rev. Alexander Brunton, D.D. (b. 1772
Edinburgh - d. 1854 "near Cupar-Angus"). Minister at New
Greyfriars, Edinburgh (1807), when he wrote the Bell
Rock prayer. Trans. to The Tron Kirk, Edinburgh (1809).
Several publications including "Extracts from the Books
of the Old Testament, with sketches of Hebrew and Chaldee
Grammar (1814); Outlines of Persian Grammar, with Extracts
(1822); plus others. Married Mary (1778-1810) in 1798, only
daughter of Col. Thomas Balfour of Elwick.
The first Sunday Service was held on the 23rd August
" . . . Round the quarter-deck, when the weather
permitted, the flags of the ship were hung up as an awning
or screen, forming the quarter-deck into a distinct compartment
with colours; the pendant was also hoisted at the main-mast,
and a large ensign flag wad displayed over the stern; and,
lastly, the ship's companion, or top of the staircase, was
covered with the flag proper of the Light-house Service,
on which the Bible was laid. A particular toll of the bell
called all hands to the quarter-deck, when the writer read
a chapter of the Bible, and, the whole ship's company being
uncovered, he also read the following impressive prayer,
composed by the Reverend Dr Brunton, one of the ministers
of Edinburgh . . . "
"Almighty and ever blessed God! Thou art not confined
to temples made with man's hands: The temple most acceptable
to thee is the heart of thy worshipper: Thou hast promised,
that wherever thy servants are assembled, thou wilt be with
them, to bless them and to do them good. Unto us, O our
Father! may the promise be fulfilled. Even here, where no
temple invites, and where no ordinances cheer us, be with
us, we beseech thee, while we meet in thy presence; and
strengthen us to discharge the duties of thy holy day.
"The Sabbath was appointed to celebrate thy creating
power; And here, where the magnificence of thy works surrounds
us, - where we see thy wonders in the deep, - where we behold
every morning thy Sun arise from the world of waters, to
spread, as at the first, light and beauty over Nature, -
shall not our souls pour forth abundantly the tribute of
adoration to thee, whose word alone spake the Universe into
"The Sabbath commemorates that Providence which watcheth
continually over the works of thy hand: And shall not we,
whom dangers so often threaten, and whom difficulties so
often alarm; shall not we, conscious of our frailty, and
removed far from human aid; shall not we raise the voice
of thanksgiving to God, who alone protecteth us, and who,
even in the midst of danger, causeth us to dwell in safety!
"The Sabbath was appointed to comemorate the triumphs
of redeeming love: And shall not we hail it with delight,
whose earliest infancy was hallowed in the name of Jesus;
on whose opening minds the doctrines of his faith were poured;
who, even in this remote abode, are permitted to call upon
thy holy name in prayer, - to read the Oracles of everlasting
truth, - to speak one to another of the God who hath loved
and blessed us!
"Our souls do magnify the Lord, our spirits rejoice
in God the Saviour; for he that is mighty hath done great
things for his people, and his mercy is on them that fear
him. We bless thee for the doctrines which our Master taught,
- for the example which he set before us, - for the atonement
by which relieves us from the load of guilt, - for the hope
which he hath restored of grace and glory. We bless thee
for the institutions which thou hast appointed for enlightening
thy people in religious knowledge, and for training them
to lives of usefulness and purity. With shame we remember
how often we have abused our Christian privileges, - how
often we have neglected the exercises of private devotion,
- how often we have failed to study thy holy word, - how
often, while yet it was in our power to go up to the house
of God, we have forsaken the assembling of ourselves together,
- how often we have worshipped thee with our lips, while
our hearts were far from thee. Visit us not, O God! in anger,
for our transgression; but do thou enable us to lament and
forsake it. Let not the circumstances in which we now are
placed, be permitted to wean our affections from thy worship.
But, while the service of humanity calls us to labour even
on this day of rest, save us, - O Thou, who wilt have mercy
and not sacrifice! - save us from the temptation which might
lead us to forget our God, and the duties which we owe to
him. Rather, while we are deprived of thine ordinances for
a season, do thou give us grace, through prayer and holy
meditation, to compensate the loss; that we may, with delight,
took forward to the time when the courts of thy sanctuary
shall be opened to us again; when we, and those whom we
love and value, shall again take sweet consel together,
and walk in the company to the house of God. give to us,
even now, O God of our salvation! those pious and holy dispositions
which will prepare us for the nobler worship, offered to
thee by the Angels of Heaven, and by the Spirit of just
men made perfect.
"We pray to our common Father in behalf of all mankind,
May the day-spring from on high arise on those who now sit
in darkness; and where the light of the Gospel already shines,
may its influences be felt reviving and purifying.
"We pray especially for our native land; - for her
peace, - her prosperity, - her liberties, - and her honour.
We pray for our king, and for all who are in authority over
us. We pray particularly for those by whose command we are
engaged in this arduous work. Bless them in their persons,
in their families, and in the discharge of their official
duty. Prosper, we beseech thee, the work itself in which
we are engaged. May it remain long after our eyes have ceased
to behold it. Long after our ashes are cold in the dust,
may he that was ready to perish have cause to bless the
memory of those by whom it was reared.
"We pray for the people of our land. Purify them unto
thyself a peculiar people, zealous of good works: Bless
them in their commerce, and in their harvests: Bless them
in the pursuits of honest industry: Bless them in the relations
of domestic life: Bless them, above all, with spiritual
blessings in Christ Jesus.
"May the sons and daughters of affliction be enabled
to profit by the bitter lesson with which thou hast seen
it meet to visit them. Restore the sick to usefulness, or
prepare the dying for judgment and eternity. May the living
lay it to heart that they must die, and act as it becometh
those who know not how soon they shall be called hence.
"Our friends and families, from who we are separated
for a time, we commit to thy protection, O God of love!
Unspeakably precious is the thought, that thou carest for
them, - that thine eye is upon them continually, and thine
everlasting arms around them. Grant that, in thy good time,
we may meet them in peace; - Grant that we may be united
hereafter in that land where separation and pain are unknown
"Our enemies we beseech thee to forgive and bless.
Bless us, even us also, O our Father! Give us thy grace
in every season of trial; - give us thy protection in every
hour of danger. Prepare us for the dispensations of thy
Providence; - prepare us for the discharge of duty; - prepare
us for the inheritance of the just.
"And may grace, and mercy, and peace, from the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be with us for ever."