Thursday, November 1, 2007

from The Valley of Vision

We were hit by a nasty computer virus, and eventually opted to erase all of our brains (the computer's, that is. There's probably a technical term for that process)... and then reload stuff, etc etc. Computer woes.

Now that we're "back," Kaylee's getting ready to post some things - pictures of various happenings. But, in the meantime, I wanted to post a page from a book that I come back to again and again over the years. It's The Valley of Vision - A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. I love to sit and read these meditations of people who seem so eloquent yet earthy. Sometimes I wonder about their seeming self-loathing. And their desire to loathe all but God. And I think, "But wait, aren't we to delight in His creations and creatures - and not loathe them?" I'm sure their response (if they weren't 400 years in the grave) would be similar to Augustine's poignant illustration (which my dear handy husband just pulled up for me in his files):

...(Augustine's) chief rule on using the things of the world so that they were gratefully received as God's gifts but do not become idols is expressed in this prayer: "He loves thee too little who loves anything together with thee, which he loves not for thy sake". He illustrates:

"Suppose, brethren, a man should make a ring for his betrothed, and she should love the ring more wholeheartedly than the betrothed who made it for her... Certainly, let her love his gift: but, if she should say, "The ring is enough. I do not want to see his face again" what would we say of her? ... The pledge is given her by the betrothed just that, in his pledge, he himself may be loved. God, then, has given you all these things. Love Him who made them."
John Piper, The Legacy of Sovereign Joy ( Wheaton , IL : Crossway Books, 2000) 71.
quoted from
Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1969) 326
(Tractate on the Epistle of John 2:11)

So, back to the Valley of Vision...
I can't decide which prayer I want to post here. Do you have time for two? :-)

The first has been a favorite of mine for years (copied here with thoughts of our sailor friends - Patrick, Michael Patrick, and Tim Smith, along with Simon Parish):

My little bark sails on a restless sea,
Grant that Jesus may sit at the helm and steer me safely;
Suffer no adverse currents to divert my heavenward course;
Let not my faith be wrecked amid storms and shoals;
Bring me to harbour with flying pennants,
Hull unbreached, cargo unspoiled.

I ask great things,
expect great things,
shall receive great things.
I venture on thee wholly, fully,
my wind, sunshine, anchor, defence.
The voyage is long, the waves high, the storms pitiless,
but my helm is held steady,
thy Word secures safe passage,
thy grace wafts me onward,
my haven is guaranteed.
This day will bring me nearer home,
Grant me holy consistency in every transaction,
my peace flowing as a running tide,
my righteousness as every chasing wave.
Help me to live circumspectly,
with skill to convert every care into prayer,
Halo my path with gentleness and love,
smooth every asperity of temper;
let me not forget how easy it is to occasion grief;
may I strive to bind up every wound,
and pour oil on all troubled waters.

May the world this day be happier and better because I live,
Let my mast before me be the saviour's cross,
and every oncoming wave the fountain in his side.
Help me, protect me in the moving sea
until I reach the shore of unceasing praise.

Thou hast led me singing to the cross
where I fling down all my burdens and see them vanish,
where my mountains of guilt are levelled to a plain,
where my sins disappear, though they are the greatest that exist,
and are more in number than the grains of fine sand;
For there is power in the blood of Calvary
to destroy sins more than can be counted
even by one from the choir of heaven.

Thou hast given me a hill-side spring
that washes clear and white,
and I go as a sinner to its waters,
bathing without hindrance in its crystal streams.
At the cross there is free forgiveness for poor and meek ones,
and ample blessings that last for ever;
The blood of the Lamb is like a great river of infinite grace
with never any diminsihing of its fullness
as thirsty ones without number drink of it.

O Lord, for ever will thy free forgiveness live
that was gained on the mount of blood;
In the midst of a world of pain
it is a subject for praise in every place
a song on earth, an anthem in heaven,
its love and virtue knowing no end;
I have a longing for the world above
where multitudes sing the great song,
for my soul was never created to love the dust of earth.

Though here my spiritual state is frail and poor,
I shall go on singing Calvary's anthem.

May I always know
that a clean heart full of goodness
is more beautiful than the lily,
that only a clean heart can sing by night and by day,
that such a heart is mine when I abide at Calvary.

And speaking of Calvary and the cross...
"The Meaning of the Cross" is the topic for this weekend's second annual California Conference on Reformed Theology ( sponsored by our church, First Reformed Presbyterian, along with Sierra View Presbyterian (PCA) and Sanger Community Church. Check out the website and, please, come join us. You'll be glad you did.


Garrett said...

eww, viruses. Most viruses can be removed without such drastic measures... did you lose any important data?

Glad to have you back at any rate, thanks for posting the prayers! I like Calvary's Anthem best.

Lookin' forward to the place beyond Wawona...


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