« PreviousContinue »
443.-" The Lamb's Bride.”
REVELATION xix. 9.
442.-The Enkindled Flame.
James iii. 5. HIS animated and jubilant Hymn,"
says Mr. Miller, was written in the time of the author's success among
the Newcastle colliers, and it is thought that the imagery of the first verse was suggested by the large fires burning there at night. It appeared in Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739."
Kindled by a spark of grace !
Sets the kingdoms on a blaze ;
Kindled in some hearts it is,
All partake the glorious bliss !
WAKE ! awake! O Zion !
Put on thy strength Divine, Thy garments, bright in beauty
The bridal dress be thine ;
To purity restored ;
Go forth to meet thy Lord.
From henceforth pure and spotless,
All glorious within, Prepared to meet the Bridegroom,
And cleansed from every sin; With love and wonder smitten,
And bowed in guileless shame, Upon thy heart be written
The new mysterious name.
When He first the work begun,
Small and feeble was His day ; Now the word doth swiftly run,
Now it wins its widening way ;
Jerusalem the holy,
In light and peace behold ; Her glowing altars flaming,
Her candlesticks of gold.
Acts ii. 4. on Ordination in The Christian Year, of which this beautisul Hymn forms the close, is founded
upon the direction (in the Church of England Ordination office) to pause at a certain period of the service for silent prayer, after which the Hymn Veni Creator Spiritus is to be sung. The soft music of this strain, following the act of devotion, seems to the poet no less than the earnest given that the prayer is heard. For use as a Hymn, apart from the prefatory and descriptive verses, some such alteration as that made in the first line is necessary. No other change is made.
" For not upon a tranquil lake
Our pleasant task we ply,
The softest moonbeams lie;
Where rippling wave and dashing our
Our midnight chant attend, Or whispering palm-leaves from the shore
With midnight silence blend."
In contrast with the sterner scene of toil :
“ Full many a dreary, anxious hour;
We watch our nets alone,
And hear the night-bird's moan. But the verses selected form of themselves a very striking Hymn.
The allusion in the last verse but one is to the words of the prophet Habakkuk (i. 16): “They sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag."
Oft as at morn or soothing eve
Over the holy fount they lean, Their fading garland freshly weave,
Or fan them with Thine airs serene.
Spirit of Light and Truth ! to Thee
We trust them in that musing hour ; Till they, with open heart and free,
Teach all Thy word in all its power.
"THE HE livelong night we've toiled in
vain, But at Thy gracious word We will let down the net again ;
Do Thou Thy will, O Lord.”
When foemen watch their tents by night, So, day by day, and week by week,
And mists hang wide o'er moor and fell, In sad and weary thought Spirit of counsel and of might,
They muse, whom God hath set to seek Their pastoral warfare guide Thou well. The souls His Christ hath bought.
And O! when worn and tired they sigh
With that more fearful war within, When passion's storms are loud and high,
And brooding o'er remembered sin.
At morn we look, and nought is there
Sad dawn of cheerless day ! Who then from pining and despair
The sickening heart can stay ? There is a stay-and we are strong;
Our Master is at hand To cheer our solitary song,
And guide us to the strand.
The heart lies down-0 mightiest then,
Come ever true, come ever near ; And wake their slumbering love again,
Spirit of God's most holy fear !
In His own time ; but yet awhile
Our bark at sea must ride ; Cast after cast, by force or guile,
All waters must be tried.
When by treason, doubt, unrest,
When in this thanksgiving feast We would give to God our best, From the treasures of His might Seeking life and love and light ; Then, O Friend of human-kind, Make us true and firm of mind, Pure of heart, in spirit free ; Thus may we remember Thee.
448.-—“Do this in Remembrance
LUKE xxii. 14. YMNS on the Lord's Supper as the great festival of the Church of Christ are very numerous, and some that
here follow will be found especially beautiful. The selection might have been much larger but for two defects, from which indeed some of those included here are not wholly free. One is the too exclusive stress given to the thought of a suffering Redeemer, often with an almost sensuous dwelling on the details of His passion. Even when we show forth (“ proclaim," as in the Revised Version) the Lord's death, we should never forget that He lives (see Hymn 129). The commemoration of the sacrifice is emphatically a Communion with the Intercessor ; and thus also it becomes a true Eucharist, the highest act of Christian " Thanksgiving."
The second defect is the tendency, kindred with the above, to materialize the great metaphor of “partaking the Body and Blood of the Lord." That participation is and can be only spiritual. The doctrine of Transubstantiation itself, as has been said, is but a prosaic hardening of figure into fact, and not a few hymn-writers, who have been far enough from holding this doctrine, have not been sufficiently on their guard against misapprehension. Hymns which really imply this doctrine, or which speak of the Supper as a “tremendous mystery," of course have no place in the following pages.
Deep on Kedron's hallowed dell,
449.-Christ's Glory revealed.
REVELATION i. 17. HE first four verses are the beginning of a poem of seventeen stanzas in the Christian Year. The following verses
of the poem enumerate the consolations which "the Church" gives to the penitent in the Communion feast. These stanzas form a beautiful commentary on the several parts of the Church of England Service ; but the last verse, as added by Mr. G. Rawson in the Leeds Hymnbook (736), brings out a deeper truth and richer sweetness, in fixing the mind on Christ alone.