Rees Prichard Poems >>
Advice To Hear, And To Read, The Word Of God

Whoe'er, of any sex or age,
To heav'n above wou'd learn the way,
His guide must be the sacred Page —
Or else he needs must go astray.

The way is difficult and long,
And few the tedious journey go,
Vast crosses round each trav'ler throng,
And strait the gate he must pass thro'.

Above the sun and moon heav'n lies,
And strange and arduous is the road —
Thy ladder's Christ, to scale the skies —
His word, thy lamp, to shew thee God.

Of sensual joys full many a rock,
And many a sea of worldly woe,
The passage with obstructions block,
E'er one can to these regions go.

Full many a winding thou may'st count,
Or be in sloughs and deserts lost,
E'er unto heaven thou canst mount,
Without God's word, they can't be cross'd.

Unto the dreary realms of woe,
A man may sink, without a guide,
But none to heaven e'er did go,
Without the Gospel, to reside.

'Tis not the sun's, or moon's, so bright,
'Tis not the stars that gleam on high,
But the sweet Word and Gospel's light,
That can direct thee to the sky.

Take thou the lantern of thy God,
To light thy falt'ring steps along,—
Tread the strait path thy Saviour trod,
Thou soon shalt be, the saints among.

The Word's a candle, to give light,
The Word will shew thee, where to tread,
The Word will guide thy airy flight,
The Word to heaven will thee lead.

The Word's far beaming light pursue —
Whate'er thou'rt bid by Jesus, do —
Whatever He forbade, eschew —
And thou shalt strait to heaven go.

The Gospel is the lucid star —
That darts its cheerful gleam abroad,
He, who pursues its rays — tho' far,
Needs never fear to miss his road.

The Bread of Life, each there may meet,
To feed the body and the mind —
A lamp, to light his stumbling feet —
A bridle, his loose tongue to bind.

Thence milk, to nurse the weakling, flows —
Thence manna, hungry souls to feed —
Thence wine, to soften human woes,
And comfort give, to all that need!

An oil that can the pangs assuage
Of conscience, and o'er sin prevail —
A balsam is the sacred page —
An antidote, ne'er known to fail!

A maul, to beat each knob full low —
A rule, the erroneous to conduct —
An ax, to lop each straggling bough —
A master, children to instruct.

The Word's a trump, that summons all
To judgement — and a bell's the same,
That men does to repentance call —
A herald 'tis, peace to proclaim —

The Word's a mirror, that displays
Our vices and our latent stains,
And bids us all amend our ways,
Whilst the clear light of day remains.

The Word's the Seed divine, whence some
Possessors of heaven's happy coast,
Christ's brethren and God's sons, become —
And temples of the Holy Ghost.

Without the Word, there's no relief,
None can be rescu'd from the grave —
For all means it is the chief,
That Christ ordain'd, our souls to save.

Without the Word, no mortals can
About God's attributes agree,
Nor well the aweful myst'ry scan
Of Three-in-one, and One-in-three.

Without the Gospel, none God's Will
Can know, or worship him aright —
None can his sacred laws fulfil,
Until the gospel gives him light.

None e'er can learn, without the Word,
The fall of man,— or e'er explain,
How he, thro' Jesus was restor'd
To his lost righteousness again.

Without the Word, none can believe —
None can believe, unless they hear,
Or unto Christ due homage give,
For Faith gains entrance through the ear.

God ne'er was known without the Word,
To turn a single soul from sin :
But, through the Gospel of our Lord,
To save th' elect he oft is seen.

The Apostles, in the days of yore,
And Gentiles were converted — none,
Without its efficacious pow'r,
Cou'd e'er approach God's sacred throne.

St. Peter, by the Gospel's aid,
At once among the Jewish train,
Above three thousand converts made,
After that they had JESUS slain.

'Tis by the sowing of the Word,
And thro' the holy Spirit's aid,
The worst of sinners are restor'd,
God's sons and Christ's own brethren made!

Whate'er man wants, God's Word supplies;
Then search it with a critic's care —
'Twill make thee to salvation wise —
Fo, lo! eternal life is there!

Christ for the gospel bids thee strive,
With all thy might and all thy main,
More than for all this world can give —
If thou wou'dst endless life attain.

As for the breast, a child implores —
As the hart lows for the springs, when dry —
As sun-bak'd lands call out for show'rs —
So for the Gospel doctrines cry.

Sell all thy goods — sell all thy land —
Sell e'en the shirt upon thy back —
Sell all thou hast at thy command —
Rather than thou God's Word shou'dst lack.

Much better 'tis, that thou shou'dst roam,
Without the cheerful light of day,
Without meat, drink, fire, bed, or home,
Than that God's Word should be away.

'Tis sad to live in such a place,
Where the sun shines not all the year —
But much more dismal is their case,
To whom God's light does ne'er appear.

Ne'er in a clime, where there's no day —
Nor in a land, where there's no rain —
Nor ship, without a compass, stay —
Ne'er, where there is no priest, remain.

Quit thou the parish, town, and ground —
Quit father, mother, friends, and kin —
Quit house and home — if the sweet sound
Of God's word can't be heard therein.

'Tis better in some cave to hide,
And sometimes hear the gospel there —
Than in the richest vale reside,
Where one can ne'er the Gospel hear.

'Tis hard in darkness to remain
Where comfort never yet appear'd —
But harder 'tis to stay in vain,
Where the bless'd Word was never heard.

To Turkey, 'tis not worse to go,
Where none our God, or know or fear,
Than 'tis to dwell, where thou canst no
Instruction have, no Gospel hear.

To London go, o'er Britain roam,
The ocean cross, the globe surround —
But never think of coming home,
Until thou hast the Gospel found.

'Tis hard to see the sun and rain,
In all the hamlets 'round appear,
Whilst that wherein thou dost remain,
Has neither of them all the year.

If there's no sermon to be found,
Which thou in thine own church mayst hear,
Go to the churches all around,
And hear one ev'ry Sabbath there.

Whene'er thy stomach meat requires
Thou to the pantry wilt repair, —
But when thy soul its food desires,
Thou for its cravings dost not care.

What boots the body's full repast,
If thy poor soul for hunger dies?
Can One the least enjoyment taste,
If in distress the Other lies?

'Tis bad, quite bad, upon the whole,
When these our bodies are not fed :
But worse by much to starve the soul,
For want of its celestial bread.

Then to the clergy cry amain,
Due food unto thy soul to give :
Since thou dost them with tithes maintain,
Bid them thy famish'd soul relieve.

From the priest's lips receive the word,
As if from Christ's own mouth it came —
He was commission'd by the Lord
To warn thee, and from sin reclaim.

Shou'd some poor curate, mean in dress,
As Christ commands, reprove thy ways,
Though he his thoughts shou'd ill express,
Thou'rt bound to do, whate'er he says.

Although the gospel of our Lord
Judas himself shou'd come to preach,
Yet it may save thee, tho' the Word
He might, involv'd in error, teach.

To vices, shou'd thy Pastor run,
Yet if his doctrine shou'd be true,
His lessons learn, his manners shun —
E'en Paul and Peter's faults eschew.

Mind not his person, or address —
If well, or meanly clad, ne'er note —
The gospel's merit is not less,
Shou'd he be cloth'd in homespun coat.

Take pearls from toads, with venom fill'd —
Take gold from hands, that are not clean —
Take wine from casks, with dust defil'd —
Take knowledge e'en from lips obscene.

The gospel of thy saviour hear,
However poor the preacher be —
The Word, if not the person, bear,
'Twas Christ himself that sent it thee.

Deep in thy mind his dictates sow,
Nor let the fiends steal thence a part —
The Word's a seed, that there will grow,
If thou wilt plant it in thy heart.

Search then the Scripture, night and day,
And read it with observing eyes,
Its dictates punctually obey, —
So shalt thou prove extremely wise.

Keep it at all times next thy heart —
At work, at play, at home, abroad,
Unto thy sons its sense impart —
And ground them in the Word of God.

Still let that claim adorn thy neck —
Still let that frontlet grace thy brow —
Still let that ring thy finger deck —
And ne'er a step without it go.

Make it thy comrade on the way —
Make it thy bedfellow by night —
Make it thy study all the day —
Do all it bids thee, with delight.

Make it thy councillor and friend,
And more thou'lt learn from ev'ry page,
(So it thy footsteps shall attend)
Than from the most enlighten'd sage.

Leave it not, in the church, behind
With him, who did the subject treat —
But bear it homewards in thy mind,
And to thy family repeat.

Make thou God's word thy highest treat —
Be it the prime of food to thee —
And, when thou'rt cloy'd with other meat,
Thy choice desert then let it be.

This wholesome Food, each morning, taste —
Be it, each noon, thy constant fare —
And, ev'ry night, a sweet repast
Of this celestial Bread, prepare.

As thou thy body dost preserve
With meat — thy soul with manna feed —
Let not the One, with hunger starve,
Whilst thou suppliest t' Other's need.

The Bible, in thy native tongue;
May now e'en for a crown be got.
Sell then thy all, and be not long,
E'er thou the precious book hast bought.

No chattels with it equal are —
No goods are of such real use —
No treasures can with it compare —
Nor any thing thou canst produce —

'Twill comfort give, and 'twill advise.—
'Twill give thee pleasure, and success —
'Twill make thee to Salvation wise —
'Twill give thee endless happiness —

'Twill give thee bread, to sate thy soul —
'Twill give thee milk, to feed the poor —
'Twill give thee wine, to fill thy bowl —
'Twill give a salve for ev'ry sore —

Who wou'd not then the bible buy,
Which does all other goods excel?
To purchase it, who wou'd not try?
His house, his all, who wou'd not sell?

This is the pearl, which Jesus told
All them, that heeded his advice,
To buy — like him, who wisely sold
His all, that he might reach its price.

Since God has deign'd to give each page,
That does his holy word contain,
To Wales — let's join, at ev'ry age,
To study it with might and main.

O let us then be all agreed,
Women and men, with one accord,
To buy a book,— that each may read
In his own tongue, the blessed word!

Since God has now vouchsaf'd the same
In our own tongue — O let's not waste
Our time, but all attempt, for shame,
To read it, with the utmost haste.

Let not the labour fruitless prove,
Which cost in England such a sum —
Lest we shou'd not account above
For such a crime, the day of doom.

O let's, of ev'ry sex and age,
In our good neighbours footsteps tread,
Who can with ease the sacred page
In their own native language read.

'Twill be for us a burning shame,
If we do not attempt, e'er long,
To master and to learn the same,
Since now 'tis in our mother's tongue.

More than a crown, now 'twill not cost,
The value of a single sheep,
Which in some ditch may soon be lost,
Whilst nightly storms the mountains sweep.

If, in a family, but one
Is with the useful talent blest,
To read the scriptures — he alone
May easily the instruct the rest.

Each Welshman in a month, or so,
May learn, if he'll the study mind,
To read all that he needs to know:
What's that? — if One be well-inclin'd.

Ah me! that Christians cannot give
One crown, of all that they possess,
Or one month's time, whilst here they live,
To learn the doctrines they profess!

Women and men of low degree,
The very abjects of the land,
You always may in England see,
Each with his Bible in his hand.

With us, ('mongst those, who most abound,
And sumptuously their tables spread)
Scarce can a prayer-book be found,
Or One, who can his bible read.

Alas! that they, in wealth who roll,
Shou'd be, by coblers in their stalls,
Surpass'd, in what concerns the soul,
And best will decorate their halls!

Will they not, in the day of doom,
Against the rich in judgement rise,
And to condemn their folly come,
Who their salvation thus despise?

They teach each tradesman's daughter, there,
To read the books that most excel —
Whereas the Gentry's daughters, here,
Can scarce the Pater noster spell.

'Tis to the Welsh a foul disgrace,
They're in religion still so young,
That not the tithe of all the race
The scriptures read, in their own tongue.

Let's then, for shame, together join
To learn, from the heav'n-inspir'd code,
The ground-work of our Faith divine,
And strive to read the word of God.

So shall we know, and truly fear
Our great Creator, whilst we live —
And if we know and fear him here,
We all shall endless life receive.

God grant the Welsh sufficient grace,
Rightly to know and dread the Lord,
And God enable all the race,
In their own tongue, to read his word!