Rees Prichard Poems >>
Advice To Serve God
ALL, who wou'd ease and happiness obtain,
And wish in health and wealth and peace to live,
Must, whilst they in this vale of tears remain,
To serve their God with all their spirit strive.
Whoe'er besides wou'd covet to escape
Losses, calamity, and urgent woe,
Danger, disease, adversity, mishap;
Let them to serve their God devoutly go.
Each man alive shou'd his Creator serve —
And serve him faithfully — with all his heart ;
From his commandments he shou'd never swerve,
Nor ever from his sacred will depart.
Of all the works we do — to serve the Lord,
Is the most needful, and by much the best —
It always does the surest gains afford,
And brings in greater int'rest than the rest.
That's the sole work, which was ordain'd for men,
E'er God first form'd them in their mother's womb —
That is the work, they must account for, when
They stand before him on the day of doom.
To hear the word — to keep the law aright —
The Gospel-doctrine fully to believe —
To live according to its glorious light —
Is all the service God wou'd fain receive.
To do, whatever is by God enjoin'd —
Whatever he forbids thee, to eschew —
His Word to study with an humble mind —
Is the true service God wou'd have thee do.
Two sorts of services the Lord demands
From ev'ry one, that bears a Christian name :
A right belief he claims at all their hands —
With morals free from all offence and blame.
With true devotion, we must serve the Lord,
Whether in public to his courts we come —
Or whether he be privately ador'd
By us, in a domestic way, at home.
When in the temple openly we pray,
We must with reverence perform our parts,
And join our brethren, on each sabbath day,
With notes united, and united hearts :
But when at other times, throughout the week,
You pray with your own family at home,
Or hear his Word, or call upon him, seek
Some sequest'red retreat, or private room.
God with a moral mind must be ador'd,
And with a truly Christian awe obey'd:
Where'er you are, you still must serve the Lord;
Whilst life yet lasts, this homage must be paid.
With wary circumspection we must tread,
According as his holy law directs —
Not as our own imaginations lead ;
If we wou'd worship God, as he expects.
Our lives in virtuous actions we must spend,
And do whate'er is pleasing in his sight,
E'er we unto the dreary grave descend;
If we wou'd serve our heavenly Sire aright.
Who serves not God with all the zeal he can,
And with a faith, consistent with his word —
Let him e'en do his best — yet still that man
Can never by his actions please the Lord.
God from each Christian all his heart expects,
And what demeanour he wou'd have, directs :
He must be serv'd with all the soul and mind,
And with the strength of all his limbs combin'd.
Make an oblation of thyself entire
To God — thy body, as a victim meet —
Then offer up thy soul unto thy Sire,
To make the sacrifice still more complete.
Christ purchas'd (when he hung upon the tree)
Both soul and body with his precious gore;
And that's the reason he expects, that we
With both united shou'd his name adore.
Our gracious Father, and Almighty Lord,
No partial, half-fac'd, worship will allow;
But must by all his servants be ador'd
With all their pow'rs of mind, and body too.
The Sire of mercy is a Spirit bless'd,
Therefore with spirit and with mind sincere,
And inward truth, he still must be address'd,
And with a heart from all pollution clear.
In vain, are Pater-nosters hurry'd o'er —
In vain, the outward man his prayers says —
In vain, the lips their well-form'd accents pour,
Unless the inward heart in spirit prays.
In any one, whom we a Christian call,
There's not (without, within,) a single part,
But God expects, he shou'd devote it all
Unto his service — e'en his very heart!
Although the Devil sometimes is content
To take a portion of the heart or soul;
Yet Christ, our Saviour, never will consent
To take a part, unless he has the whole.
Devote thy soul, his holy name to bless,
Let it exult, and joy in him alone —
Devote thy spirit, freely to confess,
What mighty things he for thy sake has done.
Set thy affections on the things above,
And let thy thoughts still in those realms abide,
Where nought terrestrial can divert thy love,
And thou must to eternity reside.
Devote thy body and its members all
To thy Creator's service, and adore
With all united, whether great or small,
And with due rites the everlasting pow'r.
Devote thy heart, to worship and to love
The Lord — let it invariably adhere
Unto the great and glorious God above
With perfect trust, and confidence sincere.
Devote thy tongue, to praise his holy name
With all its might, either by night or day,
And his unbounded goodness to proclaim:
In ev'ry place, whereto thou goest, pray.
Devote thine eyes to look upon him still —
Let them, unweary'd, on the Lord attend,
And lift them up unto the sacred hill,
Whence all thy comfort, all thy joys descend.
Devote with reverence thy ready ear,
His word, his will, and his commandments to take —
And with attention unremitted hear
The promises, the sacred pages make.
Devote thy hands, with commendable zeal,
To ev'ry work that's excellent and good —
And to thy needy neighbours freely deal
A share, of what thy God on thee bestow'd.
Devote thy knees, their Maker to adore,
And with unfeign'd respect before him bend —
Ascribing, when thou dost his aid implore,
To him all might, and glory without end.
Devote thy feet, his blessed paths to trce,
And walk with wary steps in his wise law;
Enter with reverence his holy place,
And come unto his courts with pious awe.
Devote thy soul — devote thy utmost might —
Devote thy body, and thy heart devote —
And all that is within thee, day and night,
To praise the Deity with cheerful note.
Honour and glory, never-failing wealth,
Peace, and prosperity of ev'ry kind,
Just exaltation, length of days, and health,
All men, who serve their God aright, shall find.
If thou, to worship God, shalt never cease,
Come, what will come, and go, where thou wilt go,
Yet shalt thou live in plenty, and in peace,
In spite of all that's done by ev'ry foe.
Whate'er thou dost, in country, or in town,
The Lord himself will all thy labours bless,
And, if thou payest him due homage, crown
All that thou hast on earth with great success.
Full shall thy house be — fertile ev'ry field —
Grief and misfortune thou shalt never know —
And much increase thy flocks and vines shall yield;
If thou to God shalt due submission show.
God gave thee Reason, and with wond'rous pow'r
In his own likeness form'd with plastic hand :
Thou'rt therefore bound his wisdom to adore,
Who so surprizingly thy members plann'd!
Christ bought thee with his blood from Satan's pow'r,
It was not gold, which thy salvation wrought :
Thou therefore must with zeal the Lord adore,
Because thou at so great a price wert bought.
God satisfy'd thy craving soul with bread,
From thy formation to the present hour :
Thou'rt therefore bound, because thou thus wert fed,
Thy benefactor ever to adore.
Thou, at the Font, didst promise to obey,
And serve with readiness and truth, the Lord :
If then thou from the Christian faith shou'dst stray,
Thou'rt perjur'd, having broke thy plighted word.
God, ev'ry creature in the earth and seas
Created for thy use — thou'rt therefore bound
To worship him upon thy bended knees,
From whom so many favours thou hast found.
God caus'd the visible creation here
A prompt obedience unto man to show;
That man, in turn, as ready might appear
To worship God, whilst he resides below.
He, that forgets to pay this bounden debt,
In whate'er station he is plac'd below,
Does the most necessary work forget,
Which God appointed him, on earth, to do.
Heav'n, water, earth, and the angelic train,
Birds, fishes, beasts of ev'ry kind, agree,
With ev'ry reptile crawling on the plain,
To praise their Maker — each in its degree.
Among the creatures, whether tame or wild,
Gentle or ravenous, there is not one,
That does not praise to its Creator yield,
Mankind excepted, and the fiend alone.
It is a shame — it is a foul reproach,
To see each creature, howsoe'er despis'd,
With pure sincerity its God approach,
Whilst He's by man himself so little priz'd!
O how shall man lift up his guilty head,
When Christ declares — "I never worse was serv'd
By any, than by man, for whom I shed
My precious blood, and by my death preserv'd!"
The obligation of each Christian's more,
And stronger is by far, on him, the tie,
With proper faith his Maker to adore,
Than on ought else God form'd beneath the sky.
Unto the gloomy realms of endless woe,
None but the very worst of human-kind
Shall ever with the wily tempter go,
Who serv'd not God with an obedient mind.
Lest thou, with Satan in the realms beneath,
Shou'dst broil in sulphur, and in quenchless flame,
Neglect not, 'till the fearful hour of death,
To serve thy God, and glorify his name.
Enoch, because he truly serv'd the Lord,
Never descended to the pit beneath —
But, in the flesh, to joys celestial soar'd,
Before he saw the dreary form of Death.
Noah, th' advantage of religion found,
When, in the ark, he and his house were kept
From danger safe — whilst all the world was drown'd,
And by the all-destroying deluge swept.
Abraham, with honour and with wealth was bless'd —
The favour of his God — and with a son —
And all the lands the Canaanites possess'd —
Because he serv'd the Lord, and him alone.
Isaac, because he worshipp'd God of old,
Each ev'ning, as he mus'd along the field,
Was bless'd with corn, above an hundred fold:
Such vast return did his devotion yield!
Joseph, because the Deity he prais'd,
And wou'd not an adult'rous wife embrace,
Was from a dark and dismal dungeon rais'd,
And made chief ruler over Egypt's race.
Joshua too, that chieftain bold and great!
Because he cleav'd unto the Lord his God,
Did ev'ry army, he e'er fought with, beat —
And ev'ry land subdue, whereon he trod.
Of old, Elijah by the ravens care
Was in the desert wond'rously preserv'd —
Then in a fi'ry chariot through the air
To heaven rap't — because his God he serv'd.
The three young captives, by their gracious Sire,
Were from the glowing furnace sav'd of yore,
And walk'd unhurt, amidst the raging fire —
Because their God they in remembrance bore.
Daniel, who thrice a day his Maker serv'd,
Retiring to his room God's name to bless,
Was from the lion's den unharm'd preserv'd,
And wonderfully sav'd, in his distress.
Who, to the only God, due homage paid,
That did not retribution full receive?
Who e'er his glory and his pow'r display'd,
To whom he did not wealth and honour give?
No one his temple dor e'er enter'd yet,
To whom fit satisfaction was not made;
No priest, the fire e'er on his altar li't,
That was not for the service amply paid.
No one a cup of water e'er did give
Unto the poor, for his Redeemer's sake,
Who shall not for't an hundred-fold receive,
And of the glories of his reign partake.
Christ is the best of Masters, to obey,
And therefore shou'd the greatest rev'rence claim —
Christ does the most, and surest wages pay
To all that faithfully invoke his name.
He is a Master, full of grace and might —
A Master, glorious, and immensely great —
A master, that with mitres can requite
And sceptres, all that on his altars wait! —
A Master, by whose help they shall be plac'd
On thrones above — where peace and joys abound —
Where they shall be with endless glories grac'd,
And with felicity eternal crown'd! —
A Master, that will to each servant give
A glorious kingdom, and a golden crown,
With such great things as heart can ne'er conceive,
And such as never, here below, were known.
Who wou'd not, then, so kind a Lord regard,
And fall, upon his knees before him, down;
That gives each vot'ry such a vast reward,
So rich a kingdom, and so bright a crown!
Who wou'd not both the flesh and world despise?
Who wou'd not Satan and his arts oppose,
That does reflect, how vastly great the prize,
Which God to all his servants does propose?
Although no servant, for his labour done,
In strictness, ever yet, reward deserv'd,
Yet God has promis'd — of his grace alone —
A throne to each that has sincerely serv'd.
A slave to Satan, and a slave to sin,
A slave to death, and to the dreary grave,
Is ev'ry soul, that has in service been,
If he be not unto the Lord a slave.
When death shall come, that irritated pow'r!
To summon ev'ry servant to the grave —
Which will fare best, in that tremendous hour,
The slave unto the flesh, or Jesus' slave?
When all the world, and all its wealthy store,
Shall in consuming flames pass quite away —
Which will fare best, in that all dreaded hour,
Who to the world, or Christ, their homage pay?
When all God's Children shall the skies ascend,
And all the slaves of sin be thrust below;
What bitterness of soul must those attend,
Who to their Lord did no obedience show?
Better a single hour entirely lent
Unto the service of our blessed Lord,
Than a whole age in this world's service spent,
Which does no profit, or return afford.
In this world's service, we can nothing save,
But trouble, sorrow, discontent, and shame —
And must through life be cheated to the grave,
Leaving it naked, as we to it came.
How much soe'er we strive, the flesh to please,
We shall at last receive no greater gains
From carnal pleasures, indolence, and ease,
Than a short life, and everlasting pains.
Whenever we have any sin obey'd,
Though we shou'd serve it to our latest breath;
No other wages shall to us be paid,
For our long slavery, but shame and death.
By serving Satan, thou canst get no land,
Though he might kingdoms, to seduce thee, show;
For he has not a foot at his command,
Besides the bottomless abyss of woe:
But from Christ's service, we shall surely gain
A glorious kingdom for our place of rest —
Where, through his favour, we shall ever reign
In endless joys and honour, with the blest.
Then let our ardor, whilst we live, appear,
And let us cheerfully, to serve him, go:
For He's the very best of Masters here,
And that's the very best of works below —
And let us strive to fight with ev'ry foe,
That fights with us, and stops us whilst we run
Our heav'nly race — or hinders us to do
The work, that's most expedient to be done.
O let us all, like workmen truly-wise,
Just, faithful, vigilant, and strictly-fair,
(Whilst yet the time of grace before us lies)
With readiness to serve the Lord repair!
For if we serve him not on earth, whilst yet
It is the time of grace —whilst yet 'tis day —
We shall be headlong hurl'd into the pit,
Our homage to the devil, there, to pay.
Then, as in hell each wretched sinner lies,
The folly he shall there too late repent,
That he so madly did his God despise,
Whilst so much time in sin he idly spent.
There shall he shed full many a bitter tear,
And cry aloud, through mere excess of pain;
But shou'd he cry his eyes out, he shall ne'er
From Satan's clutches make escape again.
O, let us then, this very now, begin
To serve the Lord — whilst it to-day is call'd —
And bid a last adieu to ev'ry sin,
By which we hitherto have been enthrall'd!
So shall we (when our bus'ness here is o'er,
And at the time we want assistance most)
Adore for ever the Almighty pow'r
In heav'n above, among th' angelic host :
To which blest place, O my Creator dread!
For Jesus Christ's sake, our Redeemer dear,
Do thou thy faithful servants safely lead,
That we may, with thy Saints, adore thee there.
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