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Dedication and surrender.
Father, Merciful Father,
on whose support
my yearning heart longs to rest itself!
God of Heaven,
whose gracious ear is ever open to the cry
of the needy and disconsolate in spirit,
who seest every throb of anguish,
how momentary soever it may be;
who markest the deep repentance of self-reproach,
of yearning for the glories of Heaven,
O let those moments be acceptable to Thee,
but let them not be so few,
so very few.
O permit them more often
to gain ascendancy over my soul,
that too often worships things
of an earthly mould.
O guard me from breaking
the first of those sacred commandments
Thou in Thy wisdom didst bestow on Thy creatures,
lest by permitting earthly joys,
and earthly things to gain undue ascendancy,
my soul may worship other gods beside Thee.
O my spirit shrinks from the very thought of such sin,
but I know not my own heart, O my God,
it is deceitful above all things;
and if there are some few moments
it is elevated and made better,
it speedily sinks again into sin and wickedness.
Father, merciful Father,
I know I cannot guide my own heart and ways;
canst prepare and sanctify it for Thyself.
Take my heart,
and in Thine 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 happiness with Thee;
regard not my prayers but as they tend to these only valuable ends.
O 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 a corrupted and polluted soul to conceive.
O pour Thy spirit on my heart
that it may be ready to receive whatever Thou sendest,
as best and kindest, though it should appear clothed
in all that excites present anguish.
O 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)
O merciful Father,
let not this spirit depart from my soul;
in time, permit my polluted soul
to be a fit habitation for Thee.
Grant that these now elevated feelings
may not be only transitory,
but may in time take root
and so flourish as to guide my every action.
Father, merciful Father,
support, protect, encourage Thy poor servant,
‘‘for if Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquity,
O Lord, who shall stand?” (Psalms 130:3)
“Dedication and Surrender” by Grace Aguilar was published posthumously by her mother Sarah Aguilar in the UK edition of Sacred Communings, pp. 77-79. While this specific version of the prayer is not found in the US edition, another prayer with similar language is, “Prayer (Oh, Father, merciful Father),” on pages 179-180. That version, which we will call “Prayer (Oh, Father, merciful Father) [version 1]” is also found separately in the UK edition with small variations of spelling and punctuation on pages 103-105. To avoid confusion, we have provided an alternate title for “Dedication and Surrender” as “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||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.|
|2||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 2] / Dedication and Surrender, 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:
Bei muthmaßlicher Gefahr zur Verführung | In suspected danger of seduction, a teḥinah by Pereẓ Beer (1815)
📖 Sabbath Thoughts and Sacred Communings, by Grace Aguilar [ca. late 1830s] (ed. Sarah Aguilar 1852/1853)