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Oh, Father, merciful Father,
on whose support
my yearning heart
longs to rest:
God of Heaven,
whose gracious ear is open
to the cry of the needy
and disconsolate in spirit,
how momentary soever it may be,
who markest the moments
of deep repentance,
of yearning for the glories of Heaven;
oh, let those moments be acceptable to Thee,
but let them not be so few, so very few;
oh, permit them more often
to gain ascendancy over my soul,
that too often worships things
of an earthly mould;
oh, let it not break
the first of those sacred Commandments
Thou in Thy wisdom didst bestow on Thy creatures;
and, by permitting
to gain undue ascendancy,
my soul may worship other Gods beside Thee.
My soul shrinks in horror from the bare idea,
but I know not my own heart, oh my God;
it is deceitful above all things,
and, if there are some few moments
when it is elevated and made better,
it speedily sinks again
into sin and weakness.
Father, merciful Father,
I know I cannot guide my own heart and ways;
Thou, alone, canst prepare
and sanctify it for Thyself.
Take my heart,
and, in Thy own wisdom,
mould it by what means Thou wilt,
into Thy glorious likeness.
Thou knowest all my temptations
and my weakness.
Order every circumstance of my life
for ultimate eternal happiness with Thee.
Regard not my prayers but as they tend
to these only valuable ends.
Oh let me thus believe,
that I may in time be enabled
to regard every event as coming direct from Thee,
from that wisdom which cannot err,
from that love which is too deep, too tender,
for my corrupted and polluted soul
Oh, pour Thy Spirit on my heart,
that it may be ready to receive
what Thou sendest as best and kindest,
though it should appear clothed
in all that excites present anguish.
Oh, let me thus believe,
that I may feel Thy merciful power to support,
and even enable me to rejoice,
under the most severe afflictions;
for “whom the Lord loveth,
He chasteneth.” (Epistle to the Hebrews 12:6 part)
Oh, merciful Father,
let not this spirit depart from me;
in time, permit my polluted soul
to become fit habitation for Thee,
that these elevated feelings,
these Heavenly aspirations,
may not be only transitory,
but may in time take root,
and so flourish as to guide
my every action. And truly was this most beautiful Prayer heard and answered by a merciful God to a loving and faithful servant. — Sarah Aguilar.
Father, merciful Father!
Thy poor servant,
“for if Thou, Lord,
shouldst mark iniquities,
oh Lord, who shall stand?” (Psalms 130:3)
“Prayer (Oh, Father, merciful Father) [version 1]” by Grace Aguilar was published posthumously by her mother Sarah Aguilar in Essays and Miscellanies (1853), in the section “Sacred Communings,” pp. 179-180. In the UK edition of Sacred Communings (1853) the prayer appears with small variations of spelling and punctuation on pages 103-105. A variation of this prayer also appears in the UK edition under the title “Dedication and Surrender,” pp. 77-79. (For clarity, we have provided “Dedication and Surrender” with the alternate title, “Prayer (Oh, Father, merciful Father) [version 2]”.)
Although the specific context of this prayer is not known, a major concern in this prayer is avoiding any transgression in the first commandment of the Decalogue, and so we take it as both wry and intense that Grace Aguilar determines to provide a quote from the Epistle to the Hebrews attributed to the early Christian, Paul of Tarsus. Perhaps, then, this prayer served as something of a ward against transgressing too closely into Christianity as she socialized among Christians and attended their churches. Earlier in Sabbath Thoughts she writes, in “On a Lecture on the twenty-second Psalm,” by the Rev. R.S. Anderson, 9th November, 1836, in Sabbath Thoughts and Sacred Communings [US edition 1852, appended to Essays and Miscellanies (1853)], pp. 17-20.
There is nothing, in my opinion, that enlarges an unprejudiced mind more than joining with those of another faith in their religious ceremonies….I thank God He has in His mercy permitted me to be so firmly convinced of the truth and holiness of my own belief, that it is a pleasure to me to join with Christians in their religious forms. I am so firmly convinced that the Christian religion is that Kingdom of iron prophesied by Daniel….that all feelings towards Christians, save those of charity, and in my case admiration, have left my breast….When the Kingdom of Iron has extended over the whole world, then will our Messiah, the Saviour of the Jews appear, to cleanse the Christian nation from their impurities, to remove the veil from their eyes, and to receive the Jews once more as the Chosen of God….I know that God sees the hearts of all men, and He knows in what belief, what form my prayers ascend to Him, though to Christians I may appear as one of them….Besides, it is no credit to be firm and steadfast in your own belief if you are ignorant of that of others….” Excerpted from Beth-Zion Lask Abrahams, “Grace Aguilar: A Centenary Tribute,” in Transactions (Jewish Historical Society of England), Vol. 16 (1945-1951), pp. 139-140.
|1||And truly was this most beautiful Prayer heard and answered by a merciful God to a loving and faithful servant. — Sarah Aguilar.|
|2||in “On a Lecture on the twenty-second Psalm,” by the Rev. R.S. Anderson, 9th November, 1836, in Sabbath Thoughts and Sacred Communings [US edition 1852, appended to Essays and Miscellanies (1853)], pp. 17-20.|
|3||Excerpted from Beth-Zion Lask Abrahams, “Grace Aguilar: A Centenary Tribute,” in Transactions (Jewish Historical Society of England), Vol. 16 (1945-1951), pp. 139-140.|
“Prayer (Oh, Father, merciful Father) [version 1], by Grace Aguilar (ca. 1830s)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 Universal license.
Works of related interest:
Prayer (Oh, Father, merciful Father) [version 2] / Dedication and Surrender, by Grace Aguilar (ca. 1830s)
Bei muthmaßlicher Gefahr zur Verführung | In suspected danger of seduction, a teḥinah by Pereẓ Beer (1815)