Christ My Song - 539
I look along the past, and gather themes - Thankful Memories
(Horatius Bonar/Johannes Thomas Rüegg)
1. I look along the past, and gather themes
for praise to thee, my ever-gracious God;
it is a past of mercy, and it teems
with goodness at each step along the road.
2. Not always gladness and prosperity,
but always goodness from thy patient hand;
always the love that, even in saddest day,
traced its clear prints upon time's silent sand.
3. I thank thee for a holy ancestry;
I bless thee for a godly parentage;
for seeds of truth, and light, and purity,
sown in this heart from childhood's earliest age.
4. For word, and church, and watchful ministry,
the beacon and the tutor and the guide;
for the parental hand, and lip, and eye,
that keeps me far from snares on every side.
5. I thank thee for a true and noble creed,
for wisdom, poetry, and gentle song;
for the bright flower, and for the wayside weed,
the friendship of the kind, and brave, and strong.
6. I thank the love that kept my life from sin,
even when my heart was far from God and truth;
that gave me, for a lifetime's heritage,
the purities of unpolluted youth;
7. that kept my eyes from gazing on the wrong,
and taught them all the sweetness of the right;
that made me in my quiet hours to long
to get beyond this darkness into light;
8. that showed me that the world was not a rest,
even when it looked the loveliest, and its face
shone with the gladness of the glowing east,
when it foretells a noon of cloudlessness;
9. that told me that all pomp was but a name,
that gold and silver were not life and joy;
that what today bestowed of love and fame,
tomorrow's breath would wither and destroy;
10. that kept me from the riotous and rude,
the oath, the lust, the revel, the lewd song;
that drew my footsteps to the wise ans good,
and bid me shun the pleasure-loving throng;
11. that made me feel, even amid scenes most bright,
at times a strange dark void and vacancy,
a longing for the real and infinite,
for something that would fill and satisfy;
12. for suns that would not set; for stars and skies
o'er which no sorrow-laden cloud would sweep;
beauty that lives, and love that never dies;
a deeper and diviner fellowship.
13. If earthly beauty, said I, be so fair,
how fairer far the beautiful above!
If creature love be so exceeding dear,
how dearer far the uncreated love!
14. O birth-place of the loveliness and light,
that shine so sweetly over earth and sea!
How excellent must thou, the infinite,
Eternal Source of all that beauty, be!
15. Show me thyself, then all is well with me,
Being of beings, fullness evermore;
then shall my soul posses, my God, in thee
its never-emptying, everlasting store.
16. So shall the world be crucified to me,
so to the world shall I be crucified;
thy face in righteousness, Lord, I shall see;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied.
Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope III, 1878, 76-78.