FROM THE GERMAN
IN PROSE AND VERSE
"Make us eternal truths receive
And practise all that we believe!"
Printed by E. Harding,
Frogmore Lodge, Windsor.
[ p.iii ]
THE GIFT OF
TO HER BELOVED DAUGHTERS
CHARLOTTE AUG: MATILDA.
WITH HER MAJESTY'S PERMISSION
Dedicated to their Royal Highnesses
By the Translator
ELLIS CORNELIA KNIGHT.
[ p.v ]
The following prayers and hymns are translated from the German; and an attempt has been made to render the sense of them as faithfully as possible : it has therefore been difficult to transfuse into our idiom the strength and elegance of the originals; because, from the different construction and mode of expression of the two languages, there might have been a danger of sacrificing truth to correctness of style; which would have been less excusable in compositions of this nature than in any other.
The prayers were written by the Rev'd Dr. Seiler, whose excellent ex- [ p.vi ] planatory works on the Scriptures may be considered as models of rational and enlightened piety, which are equally calculated to improve the understanding and touch the heart. The same commendation may be given to these prayers, if the Translator has not totally obscured their lustre by too scrupulously endeavouring to preserve it.
The hymns are from different Authors, and in them it has been even still less easy to preserve the chaste simplicity and fervent devotion of the originals. Some of them are from Gellert, whose admirable letters and fables are well known in this country.
[ p.1 ]
RENEWAL OF THE
In the most solemn manner I again repeat the vow, which I formerly made to thee, O my God ! and herewith I surrender myself as thy property, and as a sacrifice holy unto thee. I faithfully promise to renounce the service of unrighteousness; and, strengthened by thy grace, to disengage myself from the dominion of inordinate desires, from the depraved habits of the world, and from all that is contrary to thy will. I form / p.2 / the most serious resolution (the sincerity of which is known to thee, O thou searcher of hearts ) to love thee, my heavenly Father, with filial affection; to have thy omnipresence continually before my sight, and to let my sentiments be at all times governed by the fear of thee. In thee alone I will put my trust for all that concerns me; in thy power, thy wisdom, and thy goodness I will seek my consolation; thy word I will prize above all things; and in all that I undertake, as far as in me lies, I will endeavour to promote thy glory. Into thy fatherly hands, O Lord ! I commit my life and being, all that I am, and possess. May my body be henceforth a temple / p.3 / sacred unto thee, and all my members and senses instruments wherewith I may execute thy will ! may my understanding be ever more enlightened by the knowledge of thee, and my will surrendered with resignation unto the easy yoke of thy commandments ! May all my desires and affections be principally directed towards thee as the supreme object of all my wishes ! Whatever good I may hereafter do, let me never more do it from the sordid motive of self interest, or to be seen of men; but above all things with the view of pleasing thee, O my God ! of advancing the best interests of my brethren and through faith, in good works, of rendering myself capable of / p.4 / eternal rewards, manfully to combat all wickedness both within me and without; to prevent crimes and irregularites, with all my might, wherever I may find them; to avoid carefully all occasions of sin, be my constant purpose and determination ! To thee let me sanctify my prosperity with unfeigned devotion, by a moderate enjoyment of it, by thankfulness, and by beneficence; and to thy honour support all my troubles with resignation and fortitude. May the meritorious sufferings of my divine Mediator, and the example of his virtues, be ever present to my view ! may he remain my only consolation for the reproaches of my concience, the foundation of my confidence / p.5 / in God, the ruler of my heart, the great pattern of my life and behaviour ! with him, O Lord ! may I assist in spreading thy kingdom; with him be zealous for thy glory; with him combat all temptations ; and, sustained through his might, overcome all the allurements of the world ! Receive me, O God of my trust ! make me, through thy spirit, what thou wouldst have me to be ! strengthen me so as to be constantly watchful over my actions, my words, my thoughts, and all the emotions of my soul ! that with my whole heart I may become pious; that I may never willingly consent to a sin; but be ever careful to preserve unspotted both body and / p.6 / soul ! How great the comfort for me if I continue in this frame of mind well pleasing to thee ! Thou wilt be, and remain, my covenanted friend, my protector, my Redeemer, my Father, and my God; in whom I may confide in every exigency; who will never abandon me, his child; who, through Christ, gives peace to my conscience; fills my heart with divine joy, with tranquillity, with hope, and with the foretaste of Heaven. what can now rob me of my comfort or courage ? who shall condemn me, or separate me from my God? Mountains may depart, and hills may be removed; but his grace will not depart from me; neither will the covenant of his peace be / p.7 / removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on me*
* Isaiah liv. x.
Behold I have redeemed thee I have called thee by thy name; thou are mine.**
** Isaiah xliii. i.
Yes I am thine, O beloved Father ! I am thy creature, thy redeemed, thy subject; thine by covenant, and, O name of consolation! thy Child! preserve me in this intimate communion with thee! guard me against all the dangers in which I might lose my blessed inheritance! Fulfill in me also thy promises, O my Saviour! I know my sheep, and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my Father's / p.8 / hand.***
*** St. Iohn x. xxvii , xxviii.
Yes! for this cause I remain in full confidence that the God, who commenced the good work in me, will also accomplish it, even unto the day of the Lord Jesus Christ; in whom I will live and die; that I may be his in death, and in life eternal ! Amen.
[ p.9 ]
A PRAYER BY SEILER.
LORD ! NOT MY WILL,
BUT THINE, BE DONE !
Doubtless we should be much happier, O Lord ! if we would bring ourselves to seek our tranquillity in a quiet submission to thy dispensations and commandments, rather than in the pursuit of our own capricious desires. With what content we should bear our fate, if we never lost sight of the conviction that thy will is always the best; that amongst all the changes of the creatures the great aim of thy government re- / p.10 / mains to lead the good beings whom thou hast formed to the highest degree of happiness which they are capable of attaining; that I, as an individual, am only a small and insignificant part of the whole; and that it would be unreasonable in me to expect that so many millions of noble creatures should be directed in their various combinations and circumstances according to my ideas, and to gratify the desires (too often perhaps the very foolish desires) of my wayward heart! Let me therefore in future, O my God! obey thee with a tranquil spirit; humbly and in silence adore and worship thee, O Lord, as the sole and supreme regent of the universe ! / p.11 / Be pleased to establish in me this foundation of a permanent tranquillity of mind! Give me to submit all my wishes to thee with the obedience of a child, to wait without a murmur the issue of thy dispensations, and to be for ever clearly convinced that all thy ways are perect [lit.] goodness and truth! One thing alone troubles me, O my Father ! that my own ways are not always the best. The sufferings under which I am often so wretched, are they not sometimes the fruits of my own folly ? O ! could I but be always assured that what I undergo is a beloved burden imposed on me by thy hand, and not a grievous consequence of the faults I have committed. / p.12 / How painful it is to look on ourselves as the authors of our vexations, and to be obliged to bear what our own misconduct has brought upon us ! How reviving then is the consolation afforded by my belief, that the Saviour, whom thou didst send for the benefit of the human race, has, by his sacrifice, annulled the debt of my offences; that, by his wise government in thy creation, he even now makes good these my errors; and that he also knows how to direct everything to thy glory and to my eternal welfare ! if I do but guard myself against wilful transgression of thy commandments; thou knowest not only my weakness, but also the sincerity of my heart ; thou re- / p.13 / pairest what I have hurt by unintentional indiscretion; and teachest me by my fall, and by my chastisement, to be wiser in future. What then can possibly happen to me that is not for my good ? with what confidence in thy wisdom and goodness, O my God ! I can now quietly tread the paths in whcih thou leadest me ! yes_O Lord ! I will say, Amen_ thy will be done! I am here as from yesterday; I cannot see far into futurity, and I dwell in a small portion of an immeasurable kingdom. How can I fathom the secret council of my ruler; how can I decide on the conduct of him, who appoints to Suns and Stars their course, who knows the thoughts of all minds, who pene- / p.14 / trates with one glance the millions of combinations of all created beings, orders each according to justice, and directs it according to his goodness for the common benefit of all ? How deep the wisdom and mercy of God! Who has known the intention of the Lord? who has been his counsellor ? why troublest thou thyself then, O my heart ! because thy wishes are disappointed ? knowest thou also what is to thy advantage? Canst thou foresee the sensations, the desires, the passions, which may arise in thee to morrow ? wouldst thou be faithful to God and to virtue amidst the temptations of undisturbed prosperity ? Lord ! Thy will be done ! All things which thou / p.15 / sendest me, even my sufferings, are good. All must tend to the advantage of those who love God. In what sins might I not perhaps implicate myself, if the stern voice of affliction never called me back from the world ! But now when I look on the earth with somewhat of a troubled eye, I see for the first time the trifling value of its possessions; I mark how vain, how transitory, how dangerous they are; how little formed to satisfy my mind, or to become a lasting foundation of my tranquillity. O ! then my soul longs for things of more stability : I am then revived by the hope that I shall see my Saviour, that I shall see a world more perfect. How great is then the encrease / p.16 / of my confidence to sustain the combat ! How does my tired spirit repose in thee, who are alone the comfort of my heart, and my God ! So good are thy purposes; so beneficial all the ways in which thou leadest me ! It rests indeed with thee to make appear the most sudden changes in my fortune. Often already hast thou made instantaneously the rich poor, and the needy rich; hast exalted the lowly, and hast hurled the mighty from the seat of honour. Nothing around me is stable; all is in continual course and multifarious change. On what shall I take hold in this uncertainty ? wherewithal shall I console myself when what is dear to me fades away; or when what distresses me / p.17 / happens ? With this; that all things permitted by thee must finally be salutary for me; with this; that nothing can hurt me while I hold fast that which is good: for thou, O Lord ! "guidest me according to thy counsel, and receivest me at last with honour. Praised be the Lord daily ! He lays the burden on us, but he also assists us to support it. They who seek him and call upon him shall never be brought to shame. Light must shien again for the righteous, and joy for the pious heart. I tarry for the Lord; my soul hopes in him. I will be silent, and open not my mouth. Thou Lord ! wilt bring all well to pass. Amen."
/ p.19 /
THE HAPPINESS OF BEING
"WILL YE ALSO GO AWAY ? LORD,
TO WHOM SHALL WE GO ? THOU
HAST THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE."
(St. Iohn. 6. lxvii. lxviii.)
With heartfelt gratitude, O my God ! I rejoice in the blessing thou hast vouchsafed to grant me by ordaining that I should be happy in thee. How good is it for me to comprehend that I, with all thy creatures, am placed under the inspection of a beloved Father, who always knows and does what is best for me / p.20 / and for all; who by the wisest means leads those who fear him to everlasting peace, bears patiently with their weakness, turns their faults to the advantage of the whole, and finally by secret and marvellous combinations sets all things right! Thy word has indeed disclosed to me a deadly malady which adheres to my corrupted nature; and has taught me godly sorrow for my wretchedness. But thou hast shewn me my wounds for the special purpose of healing them — Yes, O merciful Father ! it is with shame and repentance that I perceive I have contributed my share to the general corruption, that I have repaid thy goodness with ingratitude, deranged the beauty / p.21 / and order of thy creation, and thereby injured in various ways myself and others. What is to become of me if the consequences of these culpable transgressions fall on my head ? Or how indeed can I expect that so poisonous a seed as sin should not bring forth pernicious fruit ? Or how couldst thou be just, if thou wert to treat the bad in the same manner as the good ? Praise be unto thee, O God of mercy ! for revealing to me the certain path to flee from this destruction ! It was not thy will that I should be eternally punished for my sin; but, that thou mightest point out how great an evil sin is; thou hast made known its dreadful consequences, and / p.22 / thy just abhorrence, which the transgressor should have felt, in the person of thy Son. But that the world might also perceive how beautiful and amiable is virtue, thou hast permitted it to appear with all its heavenly splendour in the image of the Most Holy, All will be reinstated in him, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; the demands of eternal justice fulfilled, the human race reformed, and all nature hereafter be renewed and restored to its pristine beauty and perfection. And am I also to take part in this glory ? Through thee, O my divine mediator ! is my redeemed soul to arise from its earthly dwelling, to behold the new kingdom of truth and righ- / p.23 / teousness, to worship thee with all the children of the Most High, and to serve God for ever in the garb of honour and sanctity ? O my soul praise the Lord, and my spirit rejoice in God, my Saviour ! How wretched I should be if I could not speak peace to my conscience by being taught these beneficent mysteries ! How anxious if with the uncertainty of the sceptick, who torments himself with the appearance of wisdom, I wavered like a reed, and had no certain hope in life, no well grounded consolation in death ! Thanks be to thee, O Father ! for having enligthtened me through thy word, and for having revealed to me these important truths !
/ p.24 /
What then does my God require of me for all the riches of his mercy and favour ? That I should lead a mournful and dejected life, torment and consume my being, and renounce even the most innocent enjoyments of this world? No. The Almighty requires me to enjoy the world without abusing it, to be always cheerful as trusting to his goodness, and, supported by his grace, to be happy in a faithful obedience to his commandments : for what are the laws which he has given me, but means to obtain the most lasting and most rational joys ? For a good disposition what can be more pleasing than to love God, who has from all eternity been so careful of our wel- / p.25 / fare, to be satisfied with his dispensations, to be enabled to ask and hope all that is good from his paternal kindness ! how delightful the sensation of internal peace which accompanies the resolution and sincere endeavour to act constantly with rectitude and generosity ! Were all men to support each other in social union, to bear with patience the faults of others, and not envy their prosperity; if they were slow to anger, willing to forgive, and honestly active to promote the general good, what a blessing would it be for mankind ! what a paradise would be this earth ! And this is what the precepts of our religion demand. Were they generally followed this is what they would / p.26 / produce. It is true that, as Christian, I must not allow every thing to my heart; and it is not always easy for me to do without what appears pleasing to me; but even this prudent self controul is the work and sign of reason enlightened by God. Many are the advantages arising from it to mankind. Moderation and temperance preserve health; oeconomy and industry secure from poverty; sincerity in word and deed render me worthy of the esteem and affection of good men. It is at all times advantageous to be virtuous, always dangerous to be wicked. How composed must I feel when I have quieted the storm of passion in my bosom; when I begin to be / p.27 / master of my will, to guide with reason the blindness of inclination, not to desire forbidden enjoyments, and to be contented with the moderate pleasures permitted me by God and my conscience ! And how numberless are the pure delights which remain for me to enjoy with the strictest piety ! The calm satisfaction of an affectionate friendship lightens the burden of my vocation; the beauty of nature in the cheerful seasons of the year revives my spirits; nay even the labour I perform becomes my pleasure, when thou, O Lord ! art pleased to crown it with blessings and success. Encreasing strength to my soul through the wisdom of God, the gratification of my / p.28 / wishes in the joyful consciousness of his love, are the works of his Spirit, who enlivens my senses, and satisfies me with food and joy.
My only trouble is that in my combat against bad inclinations I am not always victorious. My discontented spirit often sighs, "who, Lord ! shall deliver me from the sin that dwells within me." Be pleased, O my God ! to strengthen, support, and comfort me in my weakness, and let me never lose the sense of it; but at the same time let my belief never fail me ! I hear the friendly voice of my Redeemer. My grace is sufficient; my strength is mighty in the weak. / p.29 / I then unbosom myself to him; my troubled heart becomes strong in faith, and joyful in prayer ; I can do all things through Christ, whose assistance makes me strong. If my conscience testifies to me that I fear God with sincerity, nothing can entirely cloud the cheerfulness of my soul. I suffer patiently ; for God is my comfort; I labour with alacrity; for God is my reward.
Even were there no heaven, it would be good to be a Christian; but when eternal justice, when the love of God to man, when the natural duration of my immortal soul, when reason and revelation prophesy a future life; is it not / p.30 / prudent to prepare for it by purity of heart and holiness of behaviour ? Is it not our felicity to live cheerfully and die joyfully in the love and fear of God?
[ p.31 ]
"BE KINDLY AFFECTIONED ONE TO
ANOTHER WITH BROTHERLY LOVE"
(Romans. xii. x.)
Omniscient God ! Thou seest the heart, and sincerity is pleasing unto thee; thou knowest even the most secret thoughts and emotions of my soul. How could I conceal from thee that in the officiousness and beneficence which I have hitherto shown towards others, I have not been always impelled by the purest and noblest motives? How often has it happened that at the time when I pretended to promote the welfare of others alone, I thought more of myself than of / p.32 / my neighbour ! How seldom was my love for other human beings as pure and sincere as thy precepts might expect from me ! O ! forgive me, most merciful Father ! this uncharitableness, springing partly from the corruption of my nature, and partly from my own wilful fault. Let thy spirit change my heart, and remove from it all hypocrisy and inordinate self love; that I may indeed constantly endeavour with all my strength to promote my own welfare, but that I may also strive to advance the happiness and prosperity of others equally with my own; that when I do to any man with my limited powers a service of friendship, I may not be so interested as to ask / p.33 / myself, what amends will be made me for it; that I may not dispense my benefits with a view that they may be seen and celebrated, that I may avoid the bad opinion of mankind, or free myself from vexation and injury. These when I do good must not be my only aims; but may thy approbation, O God ! be ever far more to me than all the praise I can obtain from men ! May thy holy commandments be the rule of my proceedings ! It is thy will that I should do good to others; thou hast formed me for the purpose that I should contribute my mite to their advantage. To this end thou hast endowed me with so many powers of mind and body, that I might employ / p.34 / them according to thy will for a blessing to myself and the benefit of thy creatures. To this end thou givest me so many opportunities to rejoice the afflicted, to befriend the poor, and support the desolate with advice and assistance. For purposes so laudable and so well pleasing to thee I was redeemed by thy Son at the price of his blood; and he has left me the highest example of his admirable love of mankind; O! may it therefore be my earnest wish and my joy to do good to my fellow creatures; to be useful to every one as far as is in my power with the gifts which it has pleased God to confer on me : to promote the welfare of others, with good advice, with praise / p.35 / and approbation, with prayer and heartfelt wishes, equally with my own happiness; and, like my God and Saviour, to become a benefactor to mankind. O ! thou spirit of love ! Come to my heart; change me into the image of my God; create in me the true sentiments of disinterested friendshp towards my brethren, who, like me, are creatures of my God, redeemed of my Saviour, and related to me by the ties of one common nature. Give me wisdom to make an advantageous use of every opportunity to promote the welfare of others; excite me to do good with alacrity and willingness; that I may not suffer myself to be long entreated; nor encrease the anxiety of the / p.36 / afflicted by delaying my assitance; that I may not humble those who stand in need of my help by haughty words or demeanour, but share with them the feelings of their misery; but endeavour to comfort them with kind discourse and manner, and as far as possible to tranquillise and rejoice them : that the offering of my beneficence and good works may not be displeasing to thee, O God ! but rather that I may become a sharer in thy invaluable promises and blessings. "Blessed is the man who considereth the poor; the Lord shall deliver him in the time of trouble; the Lord shall comfort him on his sick bed; he shall cause him to prosper on the earth: / p.37 / he who hath pity on the poor lendeth to the Lord; and he will reward him. The Lord will give unto all men according to their works, praise and immortal life to those who seek his Salvation." All this mayst thou fulfill in me, O God ! for the love of the Lord Jesus Christ, my Saviour ! Amen.
[ p.39 ]
AN EXHORTATION TO
O God, who art faithful, and in whom I trust ! who through thy great wisdom and kindness hast decreed to turn from me all that might be hurtful to my soul, and to conduct me through various trials and temptations into everlasting happiness; vouchsafe to give me also the prudence to imitate thee in this respect, and to reflect seriously on the many enemies of my welfare with whom I am surrounded, and on the necessity of being watchful to avoid the snares and delusions of sin. From within I am assailed by so many bad inclinations, / p.40 / prejudices, inordinate desiers [lit.], and pernicious habits; from without by the seductive example of a great multitude of sinners, by so many destructive opinions and conversations, by so many incitements to pleasure, to anger, to careless deviations from rectitude and truth. O ! how imprudent it would be in me to remain thoughtless and secure amidst so many perils which surround me on every side, and with the propensity to evil adherent to my nature ! How soon may so frail a creature be led away by the power of bad inclinations, or tempted by the delusions of a sinful world ! How easily may a word be spoken, by which the conscience is wounded; how soon an / p.41 / action may be committed, which may ruin my happiness, rob me of my peace of mind, and perhaps for ever deprive me of thy favour ! For it remains uncertain, whether, after the perpetration of an unlawful deed, I may come to myself again, or, enchained by sin, be led astray to farther transgressions. How unspeakable would be my misery, if I were to become so unfortunate as not to love thee any more as my Father, O most merciful God ! no more to look up to thee with filial confidence; no more dare to hope with certainty in thy blessing and support; but on the contrary to tremble at thy justice, and to live in constant fear of thee ! O! most gracious Father ! / p.42 / allow me no more to go onwards in thoughtless security. Open my eyes that I may see, in all their magnitude, the dangers into which my soul may fall. Awaken me through thy word, that I may be ever watchful and temperate; that with a prudent caution I may nearly observe the desires, the thoughts, and the emotions of my heart; that I may well consider what and how I am to speak, that I may not offend with my lips; that I may carefully avoid all occasions of evil; that I may not trust every one; that I may not inconsiderately follow the example of idle worldlings : that I may avoid the company of sinners; excite myself constantly to the practise / p.43 / of every virtue by a remembrance of thy divine commandments and promises; labour with fidelity in my vocation; and amidst the various temptations to anger, fear, or love, to illicit enjoyments, to light discourses, and other sins, I may always so conduct myself that the resolution to fear thee, and to act justly, may never depart from my soul. O ! how tranquil I may be, if I always walk thus in thy presence with quiet obedience ! with what comfort may I then, with faith in my Redeemer, rely on thy love and fatherly care ! Thou wilt strengthen me in my weakness, Thou wilt through thy might remove from me the perils which might be hurtful to me. Thou wilt, / p.44 / through thy spirit, sanctify my desires, govern my thoughts and senses.strengthen me to combat sinful appetites and temptations, and graciously accomplish the good work thou hast commenced in me. Thou art faithful, O God! Thou wilt not suffer me to be tempted above my power of resistance, but wilt make the temptation have such an end that I can endure it, and joyfully say: God is my shield; I am assured and fear nothing. "Faith is the victory, with which I overcome the world. I am assured that neither high nor deep, neither angels nor men, neither things present nor to come shall divide me from the love of God in Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour." / p.45 / To whom be honour and praise, now and evermore ! Amen.
[ p.47 ]
"PUT ON THE NEW MAN, WHICH AFTER
GOD IS CREATED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS
AND TRUE HOLINESS."
(Ephesians 4, xxiv.
O God my Father ! who didst in the begining create man after thy image ! and, when he lost that perfection, didst make the most gracious dispositions to raise him once more to that state of glory through the operations of thy spirit; with what words shall I praise thee ? How shall I worthily proclaim thy goodness, in that thou hast been pleased to commence in me the great work of the / p.48 / reinstatement of thy divine image, and hast already done so much towards its accomplishment? While I was yet a child, before I could ask it of thee, thou didst cleanse me from my sins, didst bring forth holy inclinations in my heart, and didst prepare me for the entrance into thy glorious kingdom. O! had I but willingly resigned myself at all times to the sanctifying power of thy spirit ! had I never through the natural perversity of my heart, or at least not through wilful sins, opposed and prevented the good work, and culpably estranged myself anew from my likeness unto thee ! cast me not away O my Father ! on this account from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit / p.49 / from me. Preserve in my soul the good resolution, which I have formed, to amend myself daily, to subdue every bad inclination, to renounce all pernicious habits, and to become a new and holy being. And as without thy divine assistance, I can as little change as create myself, let the seeds of thy powerful word bring forth in me, O my God ! the pious sentiments, the pure desires, and the holy resolutions which are necessary if I am to be finally renewed and elevated to thy likeness. Give me the true wisdom to be guided by thy fear in all my concerns. Give me the sentiments of thy beloved Son Jesus Christ, that I may do thy will with quiet resignation; that I may in all / p.50 / things seek thy glory and not my own; that my greatest joy may be to love thee, to speak with thee in prayer, to soar upwards unto thee with the fervency of devotion, to look on the world with a quiet and steady indifference, to aspire chiefly to what is eternal ! Endow me through thy word, with the necessary vigour to become rich in every virtue ! Give me the spirit of patience, of humble self abasement, of tranquil affability, of generosity in pardoning, of compassion, of undissembled charity ! Give me strength of mind to command my temper, to subdue my anger, to conquer the allurements of the senses, to rule over the excitements of envy, and with continual watchfulness to preserve / p.51 / my whole nature in the strictest order ! Guide my inclinations towards all that is good, praiseworthy, and well pleasing to thee ! Fill my heart with the sentiments of thy divine love, that, strengthened by them, I may be capable of surmounting all the difficulties which might weary or oppose my zeal for good works, that I may remain faithful to the truth even unto death; that I may not suffer any fear of man, any attachment, any gain or loss, to mislead me from what is right, and prize nothing in the universe so highly as thy favour and a clear conscience. May my soul be ever directed towards thee in its contemplations as far as possible; may my body be a temple sacred unto thee, and my whole conduct an offering / p.52 / well pleasing unto thee, and a continual act of worship. Withdraw not from me, O my Father ! thy divine assistance : give me at all times the will and the accomplishment : enlighten, comfort, sustain me; rejoice and sanctify me entirely with thy divine word, that I may be preserved blameless both in soul and body unto the the [lit.] day of the coming of my Lord Jesus Christ, who will then make my mortal body to become like unto his glorious body. O ! how I shall praise thee, when my mind renewed in all its sentiments is formed after thy likeness ! How I shall rejoice when my then immortal body approaches thy throne, and as a new being I shall for ever contemplate thy countenance inspiring everlasting gladness ! Amen.
[ p.53 ]
CAST ALL YOUR CARES ON THE LORD;
FOR HE CARETH FOR YOU.
I. St. Peter, Verse 7.
Now to Thee, O faithful Preserver and Father of thy creatures, to thee I recommend my afflictions and the diverse cares which put me to disquiet. Thou alone canst remove them from my heart: to thy wisdom and goodness I commit them all. In thy hands are the destinies of mankind; Thou hast to each man assigned his days of happiness and of sorrow. With all my reflections and endeavours, I should not have it in my power to avert what it is thy pleasure to impose on me. O ! give me but the / p.54 / prudence to comply with these circumstances. Guide me to the proper means for lessening the cause of my affliction. Grant me steadiness to trust in thee with a firm belief and comforted spirit even in the midst of adversities. Thou art the Almighty; no danger is too great for thee to remove. Thy wisdom knows the way to restore me to rest, and to the enjoyment of undisturbed prosperity. In Thee I hope; Thou art my God, my Father, reconciled to me through Christ; my chief consolation: to Thee I herewith surrender all my affairs and concerns. Guide Thou the hearts of men my best advantage. Let all that gives me pain have a happy conclusion. Fulfill in / p.55 / me thy promise, that they who faithfully seek thy help shall not be confounded. Yes, I believe, and I am certain that I shall yet see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart hopes, and I am helped. The Lord is with those who are of a troubled heart; he helps those whose spirit is cast down. O Lord! look on my grief and my wretchedness, and forgive me all my sins. Forsake me not, Lord, my God ! Hasten to stand by me, O Lord ! my help ! why art thou so heavy, O my soul! and why art thou so disquieted within me ? O put thy trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, which is the help of my countenance and my defence.
[ p.57 ]
COMMIT THY WAY UNTO THE LORD,
AND PUT THY TRUST IN HIM, AND
HE SHALL BRING IT TO PASS.
37. Psalm. Verse v.
To thee, O Father who art faithful and in whom I trust, I recommend all my undertakings and designs, my troubles, and my cares. Thou orderest my destiny with goodness and wisdom; Thou hast the power to make all circumstances tend to my best advantage: but I, with all the circumspection I can employ in my affairs, may easily fall on some thing contrary to my true interest, I know not what will happen in future. I dare but / p.58 / little confide in the favour and assistance of men. A single accident might suddenly destroy the greatest part of my hopes. To thee, O Omniscient, and Almighty Ruler of the whole world ! I surrender myself with all my designs and occupations. Thou hast seen from all Eternity what is necessary for my true and lasting welfare. Thou guidest the hearts of men according to thy wise counsel. Thou hast promised that to them who love Thee all things shall turn out for the best. I hope in thee: let me not be confounded ; govern my thoughts, that I may ever do what is pleasing to thee. Bless my undertakings. Guard me against the attempts of those who are not favourable / p.59 / to me. Lead me but in the ways that are well pleasing unto thee. Strengthen in my Soul a lively confidence in thy mercy through Christ Jesus. Establish content in my too often unquiet heart. Preserve me in the hope of those joys that await me in a better world. So shall I care for nothing anxiously; Thou Lord ! wilt bring all things well to pass. Amen.
[ p.61 ]
WHAT I DO THOU KNOWEST NOT NOW;
BUT THOU SHALT KNOW HEREAFTER.
St. John. 13. vii.
O Lord ! Thy counsels are inscrutable ! Thou knowest what is for my temporal, and eternal advantage. I cannot see far into futurity, and I discern not at a distance the term to which it is thy will to lead me through unknown ways. Perhaps the succeeding events of my life might be far more lamentable if I had not to endure at present this slight uneasiness. Perhaps it is thy will to save me through this bitter medicine from a malady, which might have destroyed my / p.62 / Soul. And how often hast thou conducted many of thy children through the dark paths of affliction into a cheerful, pleasing country of temporal happiness, of honour, and of pleasure. O Omniscient ! To thee will I resign myself consoled, in quiet content, with all I have and am; I will not choose how, where, or how long I might live; I will give myself up free from care into thy paternal hands; will with prayer and diligence hope in thy providence, and for the rest expect from thee, by faith in Christ, whatever may be good for me. Finally I shall discover that thy purposes were the best, and that my wishes were vain or dangerous. How joyfully shall I thank / p.63 / thee when thou shalt have brought my sufferings to an useful and blessed termination for me; with which conviction I may then say; All the ways of my God are nothing but goodness and truth to them who fear him; the counsel of the Lord is marvellous, and He bringeth all gloriously to pass ! O Israel ! God is therefore the comfort of him who is of a pure heart. My soul is tranquil in God who helpeth me.
[ p.65 ]
GOD IS MY ROCK, IN WHICH I TRUST.
All that I see around me in the world is changeable and subject to decay. Thou alone, O highest, most perfect being; art through thy own strength ever existent, hadst never a beginning; hast no alteration, no death, and no annihilation to fear. In Thee lies the source from which all other things derive their origin, their strength, and their happiness. I also have Thee to thank for my life and welfare. In whom then should I now place my trust in more perfect confidence than / p.66 / in Thee, Almighty God ! Innumerable millions of creatures have existed before me; how many exist at present, and will yet arise after me to remain here for a short time, and then disappear from hence for ever ! But Thou, my God ! remainest as thou art, and thy years have no end. Thy powers do not decay; thy counsel stands ever firm. let this then be the rock of my confidence There is a God; an eternal, a constant, an unchangeable foundation for my trust. Thee, Father of all beings ! Thee will I ever humbly worship, Thee will I admiringly adore as the source of all perfection, in Thee will I place my chief confidence in every exigency. Lord God! thou art our refuge / p.67 / for ever and ever; before the mountains were, and the earth and the world were formed, Thou art God of all eternity. From Him, through Him, and in Him, all things are: To Him be honour and praise from eternity to eternity ! Amen.
[ p.69 ]
ON THE EFFICACY AND
BLESSING OF PRAYER.
"BUT, LORD, I MAKE MY PRAYER
UNTO THEE IN AN ACCEPTABLE TIME."
(PSALM. 69. xiii.)
How great is the privilege which it has pleased the Almighty to grant to me, in common with all his children, that, when I commune with him in stillness, I may pour forth my heart with all its cares and sorrows into his paternal bosom ! O thou most High ! what am I, dust, earth, and ashes, that I dare to venture addressing myself to thee ? and thou art pleased not only to grant me access / p.70 / to thy presence, but even graciously to invite me, and command me to apply to thee for all I want, with the most certain assurance that thou wilt listen to my supplications as long as my requests are conformable to thy wisdom, and my eternal welfare. I praise thee with my whole heart, O my God ! for this ineffable goodness. Alas ! if prayer were not our consolation, how many of thy children would sink under afflictions ! But thy comfortable word tranquillizes, strengthens, and revives all those who believe in thee ! and my soul, desolate without thee, most gratefully acknowledges this thy goodness.
/ p.71 /
When my conscience recalls to me the sins of past years; when my daily faults and frailties fill me with repentance, shame, and anxiety; I then flee unto thy mercy in prayer, and I find, through the merits of Christ, repose for my troubled soul; when cares and afflictions have broken my spirit, and I in vain look round me on earth for the succour of which I stand in need; I then approach in prayer the throne of him who rules heaven and earth, and also my concerns; of him who can turn to my best advantage whatever happens unto me. In the secret communications of faith I can trust my whole heart to this friend, who knows the best means to save and deliver / p.72 /me; who gives me the wisest counsel, whilst he governs my thoughts so that I may walk in the surest paths. Often when I find that the love of God grows cold within me, because my soul still clings too much to objects of sense, I endeavour to raise myself to God in prayer; I set before my eyes his goodness, his mercy, and his fatherly affection; I praise him for the overflow of benefits which he daily showers upon me, and for all the consolations which he has given me in his Son, my Saviour. These reflections awaken my dormant love; my lukewarm heart begins again to glow, and my God becomes my joy, my delight, and my chief desire. Often when / p.73 / I feel a reprehensible indifference for my brethren, and still oftener find it difficult cordially to forgive slanderers; I then begin to pray for all mankind, and, by the example of my Saviour, petition God for my enemies: O! how soon my uncharitable disposition is then changed and altered ! how easily emotions of universal benevolence and brotherly love are excited in me ! Pleasure loses its empire, when I converse intimately with the Most Holy; avarice has no power over me, when I supplicate the Father for everlasting treasures, for righteousness, peace of mind, and strength of soul for all goodness. I can never be elevated with pride whilst I often humbly / p.74 / remind myself of my faults before God in prayer. I can never long torment those with whom I live by peevish impatience, whilst I often breath out my thoughts to him who has born with me patiently for so many years. O how strong I feel myself in the labours of my vocation, when I pray! How greatly is my confidence in the help of God encreased! How powerful becomes my faith when I pray! when I remind my heavenly father of his promises, his truth, his covenant, and of the sufferings of my Divine Mediator ! My heart then hopes in him, and I can almost say that I am already helped; for I cast all my cares on him who eternally careth for me, how sa- / p.75 / lutary it is to have God always before our eyes in prayer; to take comfort in his wisdom and goodness; to strengthen ourselves in virtue by reflecting on his righteousness and justice; to reform and model ourselves after his sublime image; and frequently to remember how vain are the joys of this world, how unstable is every thing under the sun and how undeserving of our affection all that is transient; while God alone is worthy of our love and capable of rendering us truly happy !
Spirit of prayer, and of the love and fear of God ! preserve in my soul these good reflections ! Bring forth those / p.76 / devout aspirations, which are known to God alone, when I cannot otherwise pray! Sanctify my whole heart, that the offering of my lips, unclean by nature, may be well pleasing unto God ! Establish my faith; inflame my frigid temper with the love of my Creator, that, as much as in me lies, I may raise my thoughts unto him, resign myself constantly unto him, petition him for all that is good, sanctify all with thanksgiving, and perform all things to his praise. Then may this or that advantage be wanting, or fade away; may the judgements of men defame me, may friends be false, and enemies outrageous; maythe whole world forsake me: to / p.77 / thee, O Lord ! I pray in all these times and circumstances; and thou, O Lord ! hearest my voice, and vouchsafest to help, deliver, and comfort me. O how great the blessing that I am allowed to pray ! constantly in all situations I will come before God in spirit with prayers and supplications; I will commend unto him my repose and my actions. When I awake in the night I will commune with him on my couch; and in the day wherever I am or whithersoever I go, I will think of him and sigh unto him. In my joys I will cheerfully thank him; in my troubles I will seek consolation in prayer: I will consecrate my whole life as an offering unto him through / p.78 / prayer: and in my last hour I will breathe out my soul to him and fall asleep praying; Father ! into thy hands I commit my body and soul. Lord Jesus ! receive my spirit ! Amen.
[ p.79 ]
Praise the Lord, O my Soul, for he is gracious, and his mercy endureth for ever. Who can sufficiently express the love of our Heavenly Father? In what manner shall I celebrate his tender mercies ? Too justly had my transgressions deserved chastisement and punishment; and he has graciously forgiven my faults, has rejoiced me with the good things of his house, and has lent unto me more prosperity and honour than I could have dared to ask or to hope. Father ! I am not worthy of the / p.80 / mercy and truth which thou hast shewn unto me. So many are in need around me, and have to strive with cares and sorrows in their misery, eat their bread with sighs, and lead a life of hardship, forgotten or despised by those above them; and what am I, O Lord ! more than they, that thou hast brought me forward, hast blessed my endeavours, hast inclined the hearts of men towards me, and hast placed me in circumstances so advantageous unto me? O ! I will praise the Lord unceasingly; his praise shall be evermore in my mouth. The wretched shall hear it and rejoice, when I share my blessings with them. Celebrate the Lord with me, and / p.81 / exalt his holy name; for he doeth marvellous things ! He hath also done marvellously by me. Me also hath he conducted happily according to his hidden wisdom. O! happy are they whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope standeth fast in the Lord, their God! The Lord careth for the stranger and the fatherless; the Lord hath pleasure in them who fear him, and hope in his name.
Grant me, O Father! the wisdom to make a right use of the days of my prosperity; teach me to look forward from my present cheerful situation in life to a distant period when perhaps sorrow / p.82 / and cares await me as well as those who are indigent and despised. Preserve me from the sin of vanity, into which we so easily fall when we have what our hearts desire. Make me, through the operation of thy spirit, kind to the poor, indulgent to the faulty, and mild to those who are obliged to obey me; that I may never forget what I am, a frail mortal, whose good fortune may soon be overturned, whose health may swiftly be destroyed, nay whose life is in constant peril of death: that so I may not proudly exalt myself on account of any gift of thine; but in all things render hononr [lit.] to thee alone; that I may be contented with the present, and not be continually torment- / p.83 / ing myself with new wishes. Thou art at all times, O my God! far dearer to me than many thousand pieces of gold and silver; thy friendship is more precious to me than all the favour of the great, and all the love of human beings. To thee I will live; thee I will serve during my prosperity, and thee I will also praise and celebrate in the midst of sufferings. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious; and his mercy endureth for ever. Amen.
[ p.85 ]
DUTY TOWARDS GOD.
O Christian ! let the Lord direct;|
And hope in Him secure;
His aid paternal will protect,
Whate'er thou may'st endure,
Who trusts his God with filial love
Has built on ground no storms can move.
With hearts oppressed by cares and grief|
Impatiently we groan
From eve till morn, yet want relief;
Then what avails the moan?
Our sufferings do we not augment
By sadness and by discontent?
/ p.86 /
Be calm, O Christian! wait the time|
Allotted for thine ease;
Resigned consider how sublime,
How wise thy God's decrees!
He is thy father; loves thee; knows
What suits thy peace; and that bestows.
This sapient Father knows the hour|
When woes, when joys are best:
Be faithful; own his guardian power;
That power will make thee blest.
While yet thou weep'st a pray to fears,
He soothes thy grief, and dries thy tears.
/ p.87 /
Not always shalt thou vainly bend;|
More perfect joy may come
Returning, like an absent friend,
Long distant from thy home.
The God, who now thy patience proves,
Is still a Father; still he loves.
Then tread the path thy God ordains;|
Be to thy duties true;
Confide in Him; his help sustains;
His blessings still are new:
For never never will He leave
The faithful who in him believe.
[ p.89 ]
Father ! from thee my greatful heart|
Takes joy or sorrow, bliss or smart;
In thee, whom nought but love can guide,
With full assurance I confide.
Omniscient ! Thou alone canst know
What truly forms my weal or woe;
For thou alone hast understood
What sorrows here bring endless good.
/ p.90 /
A shorter or a longer pain|
Can never be endured in vain,
The bitter root sweet produce brings,
And fairest light from darkness springs.
When all is gloom around my head,
My soul oppressed to pleasure dead,
In thee I trust; O God! my night
Is turned to day; for thou art light,
Despond not, heart, be undismayed;
For God thy burden on thee laid:
He knows thy wants; he knows thy grief;
And he can give thee sure relief.
/ p.91 /
How often when my tears have flowed|
His hand unlooked for help bestowed.
The night had passed in sad annoy,
And morning brought me peace and joy.
How oft I thought no hope remained,
And mourned aloud, and thus complained;
"Where art thou. Lord ! Ah ! seest thou not
"Thy servant and his wretched lot?"
Thou saw'st me weep thou heard'st me sigh;
And lo ! thy gracious help was nigh.
Mine eyes were clear'd; my bliss I saw,
And thanked my God with gratful awe.
/ p.92 /
How many souls are doomed to bear|
The weight of heart corroding care!
With trials God his servants proves,
And oft he chastens those he loves.
Let all who have his mercy tried,
All who to him for aid applied,
Let pious souls proclaim if e'er
He scorned the patient sufferer's prayer.
The day will come, or swift or slow,
When joy and praise shall spring from woe;
When grief endured shall sure obtain
Whole years of bliss, for hours of pain.
/ p.93 /
Before perhaps this life's decline|
The meed of suffering may be thine;
Before thy tears have ceased to flow
Perhaps may God his aid bestow.
Look up unto thy Saviour; why
No comfort thou can'st gain from men,
Unfold thy griefs to him above;
For great his mercy and his love.
He, friend of man, like us for years
Inhabited this vale of tears;
Thy tears are present to his sight.
And he to help thee has the might.
/ p.94 /
And, help he will. Be not dismayed;|
He keeps the promise he has made:
"Thee, faithful soul ! I will not leave;
"Be of good cheer ! In Me believe.
[ p.95 ]
Grant me, O God ! a tender heart|
To act the kind and friendly part,
To love mankind, enjoy their weal
And all their cares and sorrows feel;
A heart devoid of envy, hate,
Mean selfishness, and harsh debate;
A heart to toil and labour prone
For other's good as for my own
Whene'er the needy I espy
O may I to their succour fly,
To share with them who hopeless grieve,
The blessing I from Thee receive !
/ p.96 /
But be no vain Desire my guide|
To fill my soul with empty pride,
The homage of the world to claim:
Ah ! no. Their comfort be my aim !
May this my true religion be.
My views though others may not see;
My heart be zealous for their good,
Unknown, nay e'en misunderstood.
O be they by my care relieved
With help and counsel unperceived !
Nor wait I thanks for favours given,
But serve my brethren serving heaven.
A drop from the refreshing wave,
E'er want and thirst the blessing crave;
/ p.97 /
A glance of comfort I bestow|
On those o'erwhelmed with anxious woe;
A counsel by my lips expressed
To those by sorrow's weight depressed;
No service sinks, however small,
Unmarked by thee, O Lord of all.
When malice hastes to raise debate
O let me quench my brethren's hate;
And ne'er a slanderous tongue employ
My neighbour's quiet to destroy;
But to his worth give praises due,
And hide his faults from publick view.
Vengeance is thine, O God of light !
Thou spakest the word "I will requite"
/ p.98 /
O let me then securely smile|
If man defame me or revile;
Grant me with heart sincere and free
To pardon him who injures me.
Love him who hates me, and no less,
E'en should he curse me, him to bless.
Yet not shortsighted be my view
My neighbour's welfare to pursue,
To seek alone his earthly joy:
Let higher aims my thoughts employ;
His bliss eternal be my care,
For endless joys his mind prepare,
Promote his good with heart and voice,
And in his lasting bliss rejoice.
/ p.99 /
O give me strength, my efforts speed|
The doubtful to direct and lead;
Their faith to strengthen, and allure
From danger's path the too secure !
Bless my endeavours, gracious Lord !
To spread thy pure, thy holy word;
Deign thou thyself, O God on high !
My soul's desire to sanctify;
Through love and fear of Thee to prove
An active and fraternal love!
"Who loveth not his Neighbour, ne'er
In heavenly joys can claim a share."
O be this truth, my God imprest
Indelibly within my breast !
[ p.101 ]
CONFIDENCE IN GOD.
Dishonour not with murmurs vain|
The God who framed thy heart for joy;
'Tis thine life's burden to sustain,
And cheerfully thy hours employ.
The troubles of our short career
No Christian can repine to see;
He strives to make them useful here,
And humbly worships God's decree.
/ p.102 /
Thy lot was cast by Heaven's high will;|
Receive it thankfully resigned;
Content those duties to fulfill,
Which with that lot thy God combined.
His care parental gives thee powers,
Life, vigour, health; thy wants supplies,
To use what He bestows is ours,
And in that use our glory lies.
Good from his blessing may alight|
more on thy neighbour than on thee:
Thy envy why should this excite ?
Think, who is God ? and who are we ?
Knew He not well the boons He gave,
What suited thee and others best ?
If He but rule, protect, and save,
What fails thee for thy peace and rest.
/ p.103 /
Thou lookst with envy on the great;|
No pomp, no honours deck thy brow:
Alas ! they sigh beneath their weight;
And oft a moment lays them low,
Abundance may not be thy meed:
'Tis self deceit to wish for more;
Abstain from what thou dost not need;
Sufficient then will be thy store.
O Lord ! Thy bounty has supplied|
Enough to give me cheerful days;
My grateful heart, be thou my guide,
Above all anxious care to raise,
With duteous zeal thy mercies own,
Rejoicing humbly in thy light,
To love, to fear, trust Thee alone,
Be ever my supreme delight.
[ p.105 ]
A few short days of trial past,|
A blest eternity we gain;
And changed to full content at last
Are all complaints and worldly pain;
To reach the goal here virtue tries,
And there obtains the glorious prize.
/ p.106 /
'Tis true the good, e'en here on earth,|
Some blissful moments oft may share;
But still their joys in real worth
Imperfect, unsubstantial are.
Man still is man; and his repose,
His peace of soul has ebbs and flows.
This bustling world, the body's pains|
Disturb that peace; and oft concealed
Within his breast a foe remains,
More apt to conquer than to yield:
While others' faults too oft we find
Impatiently distract his mind.
/ p.107 /
Where virtue suffers, vice prevails,|
As often here must be their lot;
Where envy happiness assails,
And misery's anguish is forgot;
What hope that here we long can be
From sorrow or from weakness free ?
Here I may seek; but there shall find:|
There, holy and made perfect, feel
The worth of an immortal mind,
Its wondrous worth, its bliss and weal,
The God of love shall there adore,
And love and praise him ever more.
/ p.108 /
Thy holy will, O Lord ! shall there|
My will and welfare be confessed;
Thy matchless bliss my soul shall share,
And be in its existence blessed;
Convinced by gain on gain how great
Thy mercies and my happy state.
What darkly here on earth I saw|
I there shall view distinct and clear;
And struck with reverential awe
Bless what inscrutable was here.
My spirit then with thanks and praise
Shall own coherence in thy ways.
/ p.109 /
There to the throne its offering bring|
Where God, my Saviour, is revealed,
And "Holy, Holy, Holy," sing
To Him whose wounds my sorrows healed;
There join the heavenly choir, and raise
To Him the song of love and praise.
With angels then, like angels pure,|
The joy unmixed my heart shall prove
Amidst the just, with step secure,
To tread the path of peace and love:
My good shall then their pleasure be,
And all their bliss a bliss for me.
/ p.110 /
There shall I greet in semblance meek|
The teacher who my footsteps led,
The ways of God who bad me seek;
Millions of blessings o'er him shed;
And from my Saviour's hand receive
The friend for whom on earth I grieve.
Perhaps some righteous spirit there|
(May God the bliss extatick give ! )
To me exclaims "All hail ! Thy care,
Thy counsel taught my Soul to live."
O God ! what rapture ! what delight
To save a soul from realms of night !
/ p.111 /
How few, how light our sufferings here|
When weighed with Glory's boundless tide,
With joys still blooming to appear,
Joys never never to subside ?
'Tis but a moment of distress
Compared with endless happiness.
F I N I S
Printed by E. Harding, Frogmore Lodge.