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Through that old city, the dead generations
Rolled like a river, and fleeted away;
Pass to our destiny, surely as they.
Fear came upon them, and trouble and sorrow,
Sudden as travail, and strong as the storm; Then fell the night that has never a morrow,
And leaves the heart chill, be it never so warm.
As we have heard it in song and in story,
So have we seen it, and so do we see;
O let us turn in our sorrow to Thee.
Teach us that still, as of old, Thou art seated,
Where to Thy temple the worshippers throng; Waiting with heart that would fain be entreated,
Mighty as merciful, tender as strong.
Teach us the Name that is written above Thee,
King of all sorrow, and King of all Love; Teach us that if we unfeignedly love Thee,
All that seems wrong will be righted above.
Teach us that even our sorrow and sadness
Are but Thy angels so holy and pure; And that our griefs shall be turned into gladness,
If we have patience and faith to endure.
Walk about Zion, and go round about her,
Number her towers so stately and strong; Mark well her bulwarks; within her, without her,
God has been known in her palaces long.
Say to your children how long she has breasted
Battle and tempest, the siege and the blast; Tell them how safely their fathers have rested
Under her peace-giving shadow at last.
Let them not think that the God who has guided
Old generations so faithfully through, Leaves His Jerusalem now unprovided,
Trusts her defences to them, or to you.
Spirit of Mercy! depart from us never;
See, we depend on Thy life-giving breath; Yesterday, Lord, and to-day, and for ever, Guard us, and go with us, even to death.
THE SEA ANEMONE.
The tide is down, and thou art left alone
To thine own patient powers. Fast closed and still,
Thou restest, till the rising waters fill
Feels the intrusion, and resentful all
And into apathetic stillness fall.
Thou baskest in the light, when Ocean's kiss
On the soft lips of earth is gently heard :
From sportive fish to floating slumbering bird.
My soul, my soul, when wilt thou learn to wait,
And thankful take God's blessings, when He smiles ?
And shrink from every contact which defiles ?
W. E. H.
DEVOTIONS OF THE ABYSSINIAN CHURCH.
I have thought it would not be uninteresting to bring before the readers of The Monthly Packet some selections from translations of the Hymnal of Jared, having already called attention to several of them in the pages of a contemporary. The resources of the Degua or Hymnal are so great, that anything like sameness or repetition need not be feared.
These compositions appear in their unrhymed form in a reprint from the “Journal of Sacred Literature,' by a London Rector.
Although the very interesting Prayers and Offices do not come within the scope of my remarks, I cannot refrain from giving two or three extracts from an Evening Prayer.
“We will praise Thee, O LORD, for Thou hast continued us the livelong day,
And hast delivered us from all wherein we have gone astray,
Thou hast thought upon us, O Thou Shepherd, that neither slumberest nor sleepest, Whom no darkness darkeneth.
Shield us by Thy majesty, and protect us under the shadow of Thy wings, and number us among Thy sheep, whom Thou leadest out by day into Thy blessing and bringest home at night into the repose of Thy mercy.
We will be as blessed sheep who rejoice in our condition,
And we will be as the good son who loved his father, and not as the wicked son who provoked his hand to anger;
And we will render praises to Thee when we come to our rest, whither Thy holy Right Hand is leading us.'
I cannot help thinking that these beautiful words of prayer, (so unlike the unbridled expressions of modern religionism) must lead to a favourable reception of these specimens of the praises of the Abyssinian Church.
The simple yet sublime piety which breathes in these petitions is most touching, but not more so than that contained in a Sabbath-day hymn, a specimen of the prose of which I subjoin :
The Lord of the Sabbath went up on ship-board ;
For the rest of this prose, beautiful in its very simplicity, I must refer the reader to Mr. Rodwell's pamphlet. I have attempted to render it into verse, taking, as the leading idea, the rebuking of the storm by our Blessed LORD.
Raged the winds, the waves in madness
Brake upon the rock-bound shore:
Shaping course and plying oar,
As they never strove before.
Then the sea's Creator hastenerl,
Came on board the ship to bless;
Came to soothe the heart-distress;
And the angry deep rebuking,
Made the waves His power confess.
Now another Sabbath morning
Breaks upon our gladdened eyes ;
Here is shown us Paradise ;
Never dawning, never dies.
Though the six days rage around us,
Comes the Master with His calm,
Glad with prayer and holy psalm :
But to day Heaven's shore and palm.
With the Cross of Christ for comfort,
By the Bread of Heaven refresht;
On Mount Zion be my rest;
In the House of God a guest.
Truly we may gather from all orthodox sources (as e. g. this Abyssinian Hymnal) those gems which lie enshrined in Offices and Liturgies, and which the learning and piety of the devout from time to time disclose.
I cannot help expressing my opinion, though no doubt it is not a popular one, (I mean with those whose studies lie in the direction of Hymnology,) that German hymns are, as a rule, rather disappointing : at any rate, we have obtained the best of them. Those conversant with the 'Lyra Germanica,' “Hymns from the Land of Luther,' and the “Chorale Book for England,' (an ambitious title,) will, I think, agree with me in bewailing their monotony and occasional poverty. Still, without doubt we owe many fine hymns to German sources.
Neither are we free from obligation to French, Italian, and even Spanish authors. Nor would I wish to withhold from pious Nonconformist writers the meed of praise which is their due. Indeed it would be ungenerous not to confess that when Churchmen were satisfied with Tate and Brady, the more exalted and fervent strains of the Wesleys, of Watts, (though I can admire but few of the Doctor's compositions,) of Newton, and of Toplady, among others, were the spiritual songs of Dissenters. But the great revival of religion within our own Communion has changed all this; and, as in other matters, so in this, the English Church offers of the best to her Divine LORD, gathering with devout hands things new and old from her treasury, and in the spirit of true Catholicity making her own, her comrades’ songs' of East and West.
Having gained so much from Latin and Greek sources, surely our collections may now be enriched from the Ethiopic.
From a magnificent composition entitled “The Vigil of the Four Beasts,' I append the following centos, which may perhaps form a hymn not unsuitable for the commemoration of Holy Angels :
The watcher-angels slumber not,
They celebrate God's might;
Or speed on wheels of light.
And when they to our world descend,
There sounds no voice-no word;
No rustling wing is heard.
Beside the river Chebar's banks,
Of old Ezekiel saw
In majesty and awe.
'Twas when the Heavens were stretched abroad,
Like tent for dwelling meet;
And worship at His Feet.
The voices of that mighty host
Break like the water's force,
Their praises chant in course.
The Stone the builders all refused,
The Father chose for Chief:
And pleads for man's relief.
He stretched His Hands upon the Cross,
Whom thousands now adore,
And nine-fold ranks adore.
I have only to add that if any like to pursue this branch of hymnology, they will find much interesting matter, beside a great deal of good material, in Ethiopic Prayers, No. II.' a reprint, as I have before said, from the Journal of Sacred Literature and Biblical Record.
WM. CHATTERTON Dix,