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John Bowring

What Is Truth?

What is truth? said Pilate, groping
In the darkness of his ire.-
Trembling, doubting, fearing, hoping,
Calmer souls may well inquire,
What is truth?-that prize whose worth
Far exceeds the gifts of earth.


Truth-of love and light the presence,
Truth-the stepping-stone to heaven,
Truth-of knowledge soul and essence,
Truth-celestial pole-star given,
Wandering barks to cheer and guide
Through the tempest and the tide.

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Forgive, as we hope to be forgiven

Kind Father of the human race,
From whom we come, in whom we live,
Hear us in heaven, thy dwelling-place,
And when Thou hearest, O! forgive.


We know there's much to be forgiven-
Our meaner thoughts of earthly birth;
We know we cannot hope for heaven
In these inferior realms of earth.


And yet of heaven we have a taste,
Of brighter blessing from above,
When over our mean earthly waste
There beams Heaven's radiant light of love.

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The Light of the Spirit

The summer was made by Thee,
There's joy and hope in its birth,
There's joy in its memory,
'Tis the festival of earth.


In the rays of the summer sun
Its beauty,-its light,-its love,
We may trace the Eternal One
As He rules and smiles above.


But where is the summer of mind,
And where the sun of the soul,
To brighten, to bless, to bind,
And overlook the whole?


From the same creative Might
Which the glorious noon has given,

[...] Read more

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Easter Hymn

Christ is risen and death subdued,
He hath hurled the conqueror down,
And the dark grave's solitude
Lighted from His glory-crown:
Called to His reward above,
See His gracious presence throw
Smiles of peace and words of love
On His followers here below.


Like a star-a sacred star,
Lo! He sits in brightness shrined,
Scattering beams of joy afar,
Beams of joy on all mankind-
Still in sorrow's darkest night,
And on trouble's restless sea,
Those benignant beams shall light,
And that star my guide shall be.

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Ye believe in God--believe also in Me

He in heaven who ever liveth,
Thus hath spoken: 'Not to you
Give I, as the vain world giveth,
Fleeting things and worthless too;
But my peace, serene, unfading,
Round your earthly steps shall shine;
All your heav'nward way pervading
With a stream of light divine.


'Be not troubled, sad, or cheerless;
Trust in me, and trust in God-
He shall lead you calm and fearless,
Through life's dark and varied road:
He shall bring you to the mansion
Where the spirit, blest and free,
Revels in its own expansion-
Trust in God, and trust in me.'

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The Innocence of Infancy

With gentle words and gracious look,
The loving Saviour spoke and smiled;
When in His welcoming arms He took
A happy child, and blessed the child.


For childhood's earliest day begins
In the bright heaven of innocence,
Ere wand'ring thoughts or tempting sins
Seduce its erring footsteps thence.


Would that, as following years roll on,
Life's infant brightness might endure,
And leave us, when those years are gone,
Pure, as a happy child is pure!


O God! who veil'st the future o'er,
Through whose thick darkness none can see,

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Luther's Angel-Song

Sing! sing! ye ransomed mortals, sing!
We come from heaven-from heaven, and bring
Glad tidings of great joy to earth;
We come from heaven, commissioned there
Glad tidings of great joy to bear,
Announcing your Redeemer's birth.


Yes! your Redeemer is at hand;
Echo the tidings through the land;
Your Saviour comes-he comes-the reign
Of peace and glory is begun:
He comes, the Son of peace, the Son
Of God, his advent shout again.


Shout! shout! thou earth!-thou heaven repeat
The notes of joy in transports meet,
For earth and heaven are one-are one;
The Lord of glory bows Him down,

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Autumn: Friday Morning

This is the day when prejudice and guilt
The blood of innocence and virtue spilt!
'Twas in those orient Syrian lands afar,
O'er whose high mountains towers the morning star;
Lands now to tyranny and treachery given,
But then the special care and charge of heaven;
Lands, now by ignorance and darkness trod,
Then shining brightest in the light of God!


Holiest and best of men! 'twas there thou walkedst,
There with thy faithful, privileged followers talkedst;
Privileged indeed, listening to truth divine
Breath'd from a heart, and taught by lips, like thine!


He that from all life's strange vicissitude
Drew forth the living, hidden soul of good;
And in the strength of wisdom, and the might
Of peaceful virtue fought, and won the fight:

[...] Read more

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