Page images

uniform and powerful excitement to fidelity in every



We, ignorant of ourselves,

Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers
Deny us for our good.


God answers our prayers not according to our wishes, but our wants; not as in our ignorance we may have asked, but as an enlightened regard to our best interests would have us to ask.

God will excuse our prayers for ourselves, whenever we are prevented from them, by being occupied in such good works as to entitle us the prayers of others. -COLTON.

There is a living principle in prayer:

For prayers have wings, and make their way to

Swift Messengers, and true, 'twixt God and Man.
No subtile and elaborate argument,

Cautiously wrought within the brain astute,
Before the Searcher of all hearts bear they :
But inward breathings of the conscious spirit,
Rising like odours from some fire-touched gum,
Articulate emotions unprepared.

Nor without high commission do they come
To us returning: but with noble hope,
Angelic comfort, meditation pure:

*From Mary Carpenter's Meditations.

Glorious assurance that the human heart
Hath holy ties and communing with God!

When fears and perils thicken fast,

And many dangers gather round ;
When human aid is vain and past,

No mortal refuge to be found;
Then can we firmly lean on Heaven,

And gather strength to meet and bear:
No matter where the storm has driven,
A saving anchor lives in prayer.

Prayer is a key which being turned with the hand of faith unlocks all God's treasures.

Prayer is the pillar of religion and the key of Paradise.


By prayer and penance Dhruva gained at last
The highest heavens, and there he shines a star!
Nightly men see him in the firmament.*


Oh, God! how beautiful the thought,

How merciful the bless'd decree,

That grace can e'er be found when sought,
And naught shut out the soul from Thee.
The cell may cramp, the fetters gall,

The flame may scorch, the rack may tear;
But torture-stake, or prison-wall,

Can be endured with Faith and Prayer.

* From Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan.

In desert wilds, in midnight gloom;
In grateful joy, in trying pain;
In laughing youth, or nigh the tomb,
Oh! when is prayer unheard or vain ?
The Infinite, the king of kings,

Will never heed the when or where;
He'll ne'er reject the heart that brings
The offering of fervent prayer.


A prayer-less heart may be considered as a defenceless citadel, lying open and exposed to the incursion of every foe; whereas the heart of one truly devout is like a castle in which the Lord dwells, and which is garrisoned with the Divine Presence.

Lord, let us to thy gates repair
To hear the gladdening sound,
That we may find salvation there,

While yet it may be found.

—Dr. WatTS.

There let us joy and comfort reap:

There teach us how to pray,

For grace to choose, and strength to keep

The strait, the narrow way.

And so increase our love for Thee,

That all our future days

May one continued Sabbath be

Of gratitude and praise.


Let all be ready,-watch and pray,
For none can tell the hour,
When God may call his own away,

And use His sovereign power.

Let Childhood lift its hands to heaven,
And sing its Maker's praise;
Let Youth remember, Life was given
To walk in Wisdom's ways.

Let Manhood think that death may come
When least it seemeth nigh;

And, though content, with his bright home,
Yet be prepared to die.

Let Pilgrims bend with fervent zeal,
Whose race is well-nigh run;

And ask their Father, while they kneel,
To bless their setting sun.

Let all be ready,-watch and pray-
Trust not health, strength, nor gold;
For none can tell us what a day

Brings forth for young or old.

-ELIZA Cook.

O Thou eternal One! whose presence bright
All space doth occupy, all motion guide;
Unchang'd through time's all-devastating flight;
Thou only God! there is no God beside!
Being above all beings! Mighty One!

Whom none can comprehend, and none explore!
Who fill'st existence with Thyself alone;

Embracing all,-supporting,-ruling o'er,-
Being whom we all call God, and know no more!

In its sublime research, philosophy

May measure out the ocean-deep,-may count

The sands, or the sun's rays;

but God! for Thee

There is no weight nor measure :-none can mount Up to Thy mysteries; Reason's brightest spark,

Though kindled by Thy light, in vain would try
To trace Thy counsels, infinite and dark:

And thought is lost ere thought can soar so high,
Even like past moments in eternity.

Thou from primeval nothingness didst call
First chaos, then existence ;-Lord! on Thee
Eternity had its foundation :-all

Sprung forth from Thee of light, joy, harmony,


Sole origin all life, all beauty thine.

Thy word created all, and doth create;
Thy splendour fills all space with rays divine,
Thou art and wert, and shalt be! Glorious! Great!
Light-giving, life-sustaining Potentate !*


Thou whom I love, but cannot see,

My Lord, My God! look down on me;
My low affections raise;

The spirit of liberty impart,

Enlarge my soul, inflame my heart,
And, while I spread thy praise,'
Shine on my path, in mercy shine,
Prosper my work and make it thine.


The life that makes the heart to beat,
The light that from the heavens doth shine,
My daily strength,-the bread I eat,--
All, all, great Lord of life, are thine,
Then let me seek Thee daily Lord,

At morn, at noontide, and at even;

• The above is only the opening of the celebrated poem (Ode on God) translated by Mr. Bowring.

« PreviousContinue »