Threefold Praise

What is the first and simplest praise,
The universal debt,
Which yet the thoughtless heart of man
So quickly may forget?
“We bless Thee for creation!”
So taught the noble band
Who left a sound and holy form,
For ages yet to stand,
Rich legacy of praise and prayer,
Laid up through ages past,
Strong witness for the truth of God:
Oh, may we hold it fast!

“We bless Thee for creation!”
So are we blithely taught
By Haydn’s joyous spirit;
Such was the praise he brought.
A praise all morning sunshine,
And sparklets of the spring,
O’er which the long life-shadows
No chastening softness fling.

A praise of early freshness,
Of carol and of trill,
Re-echoing all the music
Of valley and of rill.
A praise that we are sharing
With every singing breeze,
With nightingales and linnete,
With waterfalls and trees;
With anthema of the flowers,
Too delicate and sweet
For all their fairy minstrelsy
Our mortal ears to greet.

A mighty song of blessing
Archangels too uplift,
For their own bright existence,
A grand and glorious gift,.
But such their full life-chalice,
So sparkling and so pure.
And such their vivid sense of joy,
Sweet, solid, and secure,
We cannot write the harmonies
To such a song of bliss,
We only catch the melody,
And sing, content with this.

We are but little children,
And earth a broken toy,
We do not know the treasures
In our Father’s house of joy.
Thanksgivings for creation
We ignorantly raise;
We know not yet the thousandth part
Of that for which we praise.

Yet, praise Him for creation!
Nor cease the happy song,
But this our Hallelujah
Through all our life prolong;
“T will mingle with the chorus
Before the heavenly throne,
Where what it truly is TO BE
Shall first be fully known.

Part II, Mendelasohn’s “Elijah.”

“preservation,and all the blessings of this life.”

O Felix! happy in thy varied store
Of harmonies undreamt before,
How different was the gift
Of praise ‘t was thine to pour,
Whether in stately calm, or tempest strong and swift!

Mark the day,
In mourning robe of gray,
Of shrouded mountain and of storm-swept vale,
And purple pall spread o’er the distance pale,
While thunderous masses wildly drift
In Iurid gloom and grandeur: then a swift
And dazzling ray bursts through a sudden rift;
The dark waves glitter as the storms subside,
And all is light and glory at the eventide.

O sunlight of thanksgiving! Who that knows
Its bright forth-breaking after dreariest days,
Would change the after-thought of woes
For memory’s loveliest light that glows,
If so he must forego one note of that sweet praise?

For not the song
Which knows no minor cadence, sad and long;
And not the tide
Whose emerald and silver pride
Was never dashed in wild and writhing fray,
Where grim and giant rocks hurl back the spray;
And not the crystal atmosphere,
That carves each outline sharp and clear
Upon a sapphire sky; not these, not these,
Nor aught existing but to charm and please,

Without acknowledging life’s mystery,
And all the mighty reign
Of yearning and of pain
That fills its half-read history,
Fit music can supply
To lift the wandering heart on high
To that Preserving Love, which rules all change,
And gives “all blessings of this life,’ so dream
like and so strange.

And his was praise
Deeper and truer, such as those may raise
Who know both shade and sunlight, and whose life
Hath learnt victorious strife
Of courage and of trust and hope still dear,
With passion and with grief, with danger and with fear.

Upriseth now a cry,
Plaintive and piercing, to the brazen sky:
Help, Lord! the harvest days are gone;
Help, Lord! for other help is none;
The infant children cry for bread,
And no man breaketh it.  The suckling’s tongue for thirst

Now cleaveth to his mouth.  Our land is cursed,
Our wasted Zion mourns, in vain her hands are spread.

A mother’s tale of grief,
Of sudden blight upon the chief,
The only flower of love that cheered her
widowed need:
O loneliest! O desolate indeed!
Were it not mockery to whisper here
A word of hope and cheer?

A mountain brow, an awe-struck crowd,
The prayer sent flame, the prayer sent cloud,
A mighty faith, a more than kingly power,
Changed for depression’s darkest hour,
For one lone shadow in the desert sought,
A fainting frame, a spirit overwrought,
A sense of labor vain, and strength all spent for naught.

Death hovering near,
With visible terror-spear
Of famine, or a murder-stained sword,
A stricken land forsaken of her Lord;
While bowed with doubled fear,
The faithful few appear;
O sorrows manifold outpoured!

Is blessing built upon such dark foundation;
And can a temple rising from such woe,
Rising upon such mournful crypts below,
Be filled with light and joy and sounding adoration?

O strange mosaic! wondrously inlaid
Are all its depths of shade,
With beauteous stones of promise, marbles fair
Of trust and calm, and flashing brightly, there
The precious gems of praise are set, and shine
Resplendent with a light that almost seems Divine.

Thanks be to God!
The thirsty land he laveth,
The perishing he saveth;
The floods lift up their voices,
The answering earth rejoices.
Thanks be to Him, and never-ending land,
For this new token of His bounteous love,
Who reigns in might the waterfloods above;
The gathering waters rush along;
And leaps the exultant shout, one cataract of song,
Thanks be to God!

Thus joyously we sing;
Nor is this all the praise we bring.
We need not wait for earthquake, storm, and fire
To lift our praises higher;
Nor wait for heaven-dawn ere we join the hymn
Of throne-surrounding cherubim;
For even on earth their anthem hath begun,
To Him, the Mighty and the Holy One.
We know the still small Voice in many a word
Of guidance, and command, and promise heard;
And, knowing it, we bow before His feet,
With love and awe the soraph-strain repeat,
holy, holy, holy! God the Lord!
His glory fills the earth, His name be all-adored.

O Lord, our Lord! how excellent Thy name
Throughout this universal frame!
Therefore Thy children rest
Beneath the shadow of Thy wings,
A shelter safe and blest;
And tune their often tremulous strings
Thy love to praise, Thy glory to proclaim,
The Merciful, the Gracious One, eternally The

Part III, Handel’s “Messiah.”

but above all, for Thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hush! for a master harp is tuned again,
In truest unison with choirs above,
For prelude to a loftier, sweeter strain,
The praise of God’s inestimable love;
Who sent redemption to a world of woe,
That all a Father’s heart His banished ones might know.

Hush! while on silvery wing of holiest song
Floats forth the old, dear story of our peace,
His coming, the Desire of Ages long,
To wear our chains, and win our glad re lense.
Our wondering joy, to hear such tidings blest,
Is crowned with “Come to Him, and He will give you rest.”

Rest, by His sorrow! Bruised for our sin,
Behold the Lamb of God! His death our life.
Now lift your heads, ye gates! He entereth in,
Christ risen indeed, and Conqueror in the strife.

Thanks, thanks to Him who won, and Himwho gave
Such victory of love, such triumph o’er the grave.

Hark! “Hallelujah!” O sublimest strain!
Is it prophetic echo of the day
When He, our Saviour and our King, shall reign,
And all the earth shall own His righteous sway?
Lift heart and voice; and swell the mighty chords,
While hallelujahs peal, to Him, the Lord of lords!

“Worthy of all adoration,
Is the Lamb that once was slain,”
Cry, in raptured exultation,
His redeemed from every nation;
Angel myriads join the strain;
Sounding from their sinless strings
Glory to the King of kings:
Harping, with their harps of gold,
praise which never can be told.

Hallelujahs full and swelling
Rise around His throne of might,
All our hightest laud excelling,
Holy and Immortal, dwelling
In the unapproached light,
He is worthy to receive
All that heaven and earth can give,
Blessing, honor, glory, might,
All are his by glorious right.

As the sound of many waters
Let the full Amen arise!
HALLELUJAH! Ceasing never,
Sounding through the great FOREVER,
Linking all its harmonies;
Through eternities of bliss,
Lord, our rapture shall be this;
And our endless life shall be
One AMEN of praise to THEE!

Part I, Haydn’s “Creation.”

Frances Ridley Havergal

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