HYMNS OF THE LATTER DAY MORNlXti.
'"But who the melodies of morn can tell." .
The morning light of the Christian Church fell upon Pliny the younger; and in that light he saw the martyr spirit of our first century. He had seen the Christians of his time suffer, and knew that their sufferings never broke their joy. Their morning hymns had never, perhaps, touched his ear; but he has bequeathed a precious testimony to the cheerful devotion of the people who could be charged with no crime but that of meeting on "a stated day before it was light, to sing hymns to Christ as God," and to renew their mutual pledges of truthfulness, purity, and love. Blessed souls! "The word of Christ dwelt in them so richly" that they must needs "prevent the dawning of the day'' with their songs. The apostolic spirit was still alive in them. They were rejoicing in the dawn of the latter day. They were in jeopardy every hour; every little group was "baptized for the dead;" but they ate their "meat with gladness," cheering their meat-time with joyful psalmody; their love-feasts were brightened with chant and chorus, and their homes were vocal with simple melodies and favourite hymns. What hymns must they have been which were' pure overflowings of hearts full of divine influence? What songs, when every singer gave out the form of old anthems newly instinct with Christian life, or extemporized in melody and rhythm according to his own distinctive spiritual gift? What was theii• style of hymn? How did they sing? Their psalmody must have been at once a reiteration of the past and an embodiment of exemplar songs for the future. Echoes from that morning of church music come to our ears and hearts even now in some hymns which still breathe the perfume of an apostolic age. The warm and jubilant spirit, and the triumphant heavenliness of tone which distinguish those ancient songs, give life to our modern liturgies, and are so like the worship of prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that in singing them we may enjoy a feeling of unison with choirs of the first Christian converts. When we join "with angels and archangels" in the "thrice holy," or lift up our hearts with the "gloria in excehis," or help to swell the anthem peal of the Te Deum, are we not using fragments from that early collection of hymns in which the praises of the old covenant saints were taken up and poured onward in richer Christian harmony through the first ages of Messiah's kingdom? In them we have the first Christian responses to the songs of patriarchal and prophetic days. The first song in which the people join at the Holy Communion "with angels and archangels," etc., is one of the first echoes of the Christian Church to those voices of seraphims which the prophet heard in the temple, and which were answered and repeated from Patmos in the hearing of a rapt apostle:—
Holy, holy, holy,
The whole earth is full
Of His glory.
The anthem of " Glory to God in the Highest," sang by the multitude of "heavenly hosts," was first responded to by the happy shepherds as they '' returned glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen;" and then both angels and shepherds were answered by the martyr church in the glorious old Greek hymn which in our English Liturgy the communicants are called to chant the close of the Sacramental Supper. And if, as the ,dition goes, the Te Deum broke in alternate parts from 9 of Ambrose and Augustine during the solemnities ^Justine's baptism, it is probable that the holy singers th P i^^ught the full-toned expression of an earlier time, ay~knring of the Church, when the company of bea'ncTtl•i ^t6 f°rth utterances in which creeds, and praises, were 'T* giving8' an<^ intense prayer, and living hopes erwc,ven and wrought up into one grand church hymn for all generations and all times. One incident in the history of Robert Hall serves to set forth the native majesty of the Te Deum, and its close conformity to the spirit and manner of inspired psalms. He had composed a sermon on a text which had touched his fine sense of grandeur and had deeply moved his heart. On completing his sermon, he turned to the concordance to find the text. It was not to be found. It was not in the Bible. It was a sentence from the Te Deum, "All the earth doth worship Thee, the Father everlasting." All ears are not fine enough to be charmed with the rhythm of these ancient hymns; and many sincere worshippers even lack the power of fairly appreciating their simple grandeur and glowing power. Translations necessarily dim their glory, lower their tone, and lessen their power. But now and then some hymnist of deep sympathy with the past, drinks inspiration from these ever-living springs of song, and casts the whole breathing measures into metrical form and rhyme, which at once suit the taste and command the hearts of wider multitudes and later times. How many who were never moved into fellowship with " all the company of heaven" by the liturgical translation of the Ter Sanctus, have risen into something like an approach to the old strain when singing Bishop Mant's more popular but beautiful verses—
Bright the vision that delighted
Once the sight of Judah's seer,
Sweet the countless tongues united
To entrance the prophet's ear.
Round the Lord in glory seated,
Cherubim and seraphim
Fill'd his temple, and repeated
Each to each th' alternate hymn.
"Lord, thy glory fills the heaven,
Earth is with its fulness stored;
Unto Thee be glory given,
Holy', holy, holy, Lord!"
Heaven is still with glory ringing,
Earth takes up the angels' cry,
"Holy, holy,holy," singing,
"Lord of hosts, the Lord most high!"
Ever thus in God's high praises,
Brethren, let our tongues unite;
Chief the heart when duty raises
God-ward at his mystic rite:
With His seraph train before Him,
With His holy Church below,
Thus conspire we to adore Him,
Bid we thus one anthem flow!
"Lord, Thy glory fills the heaven,
Earth is with its fulness stored;
Unto Thee be glory given,
Holy, holy, holy Lord!"
Thus Thy glorious name confessing,
We adopt Thy angels' cry,
"Holy, holy, holy," blessing
Thee, " the Lord of hosts most high!"
As rank after rank from "the noble army of martyrs" passed away during the morning tide of the Church, leaving no record, and without the least care about the preservation of their memory upon earth, so, many of the hymnists of early days were happy in expressing their joys in song while they lived, and then departed, bequeathing their hymns to following generations, without a single effort to secure for their own names the future honours of authorship. Some of their simple, tender, trustful, hymns, full of Christ and winged with heavenliness, still remain as nameless memorials of the generation whose purity inspired contemporary authorities with wonder. One hymn there is which seems to claim a place among those which Pliny says the Christians used to sing before the morning dawn. It is in the spirit of the Psalmist, who said, "My eyes prevent the night watches," and may be rendered thus :—
From our midnight sleep uprising,
Thee, Gracious One, we will adore;
Loud the angels' hymn uplifting
To Thee, Almighty, evermore!
The holy, holy, holy Lord and God art Thou!
In mercy's name, have mercy on us now!
From the couch and death-like slumber
Thou makest me, O Lord, to rise:
Thou my mind and heart enlighten,
And free my lips from sinful ties,
So may I 'fore Thee, Triune God, with praises bow;
For holy, holy, holy Lord and God art Thou!
"With multitudes on multitudes,
The coming Judge will soon be here;
And ev'ry deed of ev'ry man
Will bare and open then appear.
We'll wait in filial fear, cheering our midnight now,
With holy, holy, holy Lord and God art Thou!
Many of the voices which were thus lifted up in the night watches of Pliny's time were contemporaries of the "beloved disciple;" and among the rhythmical fragments which survive there seem to be traces of the influence which the last of the apostles had shed upon the mind and heart of the youthful Church. Indications may be found here and there of familiarity with the last apostle's closing utterances, "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God, .... and we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols." This closing admonition was sacredly observed by these "little children," while they kept their adoring eyes on John's last vision of "the Lamb in the midst of the throne," and continued to admonish one another "in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs" about the incarnate Saviour, their reigning Lord. One of their strains is so like John, and so befitting his "little children" in its pure simplicity, its joyful earnestness, and reverent friendship with a present Saviour, that it must ever have a charm for all who have spiritual sympathy with the apostle of "perfect love." It loses much, of course, by translation into English rhyme, but in that form it is most likely to touch the present generation :—
We adore Thy pure image,
0 good Lord, imploring Thee!
Pardon all our sins and failures,
Christ, our gracious Deity.
Thou didst come in Thy good-will,
Taking flesh with all its woe,
Thy own creatures to redeem
From the bondage of the foe.
Therefore cry we thankfully,
Fulness of delight, to Thee,
Our Saviour, once appearing,
Purging earth's iniquity.
Some of the hymns of early dawn must have mingled with the joy of angels over penitent hearts. Human nature was sinful then as it is now. The contrite heart and broken spirit had its psalm then as it ever will. Apostle churches were never lacking in—
The godly grief, the pleasing smart,
The meltings of a broken heart;
The tear that tells the son's forgiven,
The sighs that waft the soul to heaven.
The guiltless shame, the sweet distress,
The unutterable tenderness,
The genuine meek humility,
The wonder, "why such love to me!"
One of these plaintive psalms of primitive repentance seems to sob and moan with gentle sorrow, and to palpitate with mystic penitential joy and tender longings for Christ:—
Long-suff"ring Jesus, precious Jesus!
Heal, oh, heal my wounded soul!
Oh, sweeten Thou my heart, my Jesus!
Save, I pray Thee, make me whole!
That saved by Thee, my Saviour, I
May Thy great mercy magnify.
Lover of man, oh, hear me, Saviour!
Thine afflicted servant cries:
Oh, deliver me from judgment;
Bid the sentenced culprit rise!
Thou merciful, long-suffering Son,
Oh, most sweet Jesus, only One!
Do let Thy servant come, my Saviour!
Sinking 'fore Thee now with tears;
Save me, Jesus! me repenting!
Save from hell, and hellish fears!
O Master.! my deep wounds I feel!
Now heal me! blessed Saviour, heal!
With Thy strong hand, my Saviour, rescue
From that Spirit-murd'rer fell;
In compassion snatch from Satan;
Though I've sinn'd and merit hell:
Merciful, long-suff'ring One, I flee
To,Thy defence! to Thee! to Thee!
Oh, meeten me to Thy blest kingdom,
Jesus, be my inward light!
To my lost soul Thou art salvation;
From hell redeeming by Thy might.
Here, weeping like a helpless child,
Save me, O Christ! 0 Jesus mild!
Such meltings, bemoanings, struggles of thought, regrets, half-plaintive, half-joyful, now desponding, and now hopeful appeals, are felt to be his own by every prodigal sinner in every age, and all the world over. Repentanee never changes its character. Its language, though varied in metre, is essentially one. The old eastern penitential psalm falls naturally from the lips of a penitent transgressor in our modern western world, and any genuine living hymn from a truly softened English heart, appealing to its Saviour, would be chanted amidst tears by penitent worshippers in an Eastern basilica. A good man from the far West, not many years ago, during his pilgrimage in the East, found his way into an Armenian church at Constantinople. The people were singing. The language of their hymn was foreign ; but it was evident that the singers were in earnest, and that there was deep feeling in the words of their song. The music was a simple melody. All sang with closed eyes, but as the strain continued, tears ware starting, and trickling down many, many a cheek. Dr. Pomeroy would fain have joined in the plaintive, tender, yet glowing hymn. What were they singing? The stanzas were translated, and as they fell onTiis ear, his heart responded to the precious, well-known verses—
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
Kot the labours of my hands
Can fulfil Thy law's demands,
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring, £^_e t a,^ Cc^f-o
Simply to Thy cross I cling; .'
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the Fountain fly:
Wash me, Saviour, or I die! c . 2 3 i
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eye-strings break in death,
When I soar through tracts unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment-throne:
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!
Who would not like to have heard and seen the author of this hymn? He might have been found once in a sequestered village in the eastern corner of Devon. There, amidst the beautiful hills which are overlooked by the western slopes of the Black Down range, the quiet parish church of Broad Hembury stands silently inviting the folks of the hamlet to "seek the living among the dead." Within those walls on any Sunday about the year 1770 the vicar might be found, during church hours, fervently leading the devotions of his flock, and then dispensing saving truth from the pulpit in a style and spirit not to be enjoyed everywhere, especially in those times. The preacher is described as having an " ethereal countenance, and light, immortal form. His voice was music. His vivacity would have caught the listener's eye, and his soul-filled looks and movements would have interpreted his language, had there not been such commanding solemnity in his tones as made apathy impossible, and such simplicity in his words that to hear was to understand. From easy explanations he advanced to rapid and conclusive arguments, and warmed into importunate exhortations, till conscience began to burn and feelings to take fire from his own kindled spirit, and himself and his hearers were together drowned in sympathetic tears." The preacher was Augustus Montague Toplady. He was the son of Major Toplady, who died at the siege of Carthagina in 1740, leaving his infant Augustus to the care of a tender but judicious mother, under whose oversight the gentle and affectionate character of the future hymnist was happily developed and matured. He owed much to his mother; and his heart was always ready for returns of filial love and duty. The genuine and decided nature of his conversion, however, was the deeper secret of his distinctive character as a divine, a preacher, and a hymnist. "When he was but sixteen, during a visit to Ireland with his mother, he found his way into a barn at Codymain," where an uncultivated but warm-hearted layman was preaching from Eph. ii. 13. The human instrument was unpolished, but the divine word was effectual; and looking back, after some years, on the happy change which passed over his heart during that hour in the barn, and speaking of the gracious sentence which so deeply touched him, he says, "It was from that passage that Mr. Morris preached on the memorable evening of my effectual call by the grace of God. Under the ministry of that dear messenger, and under that sermon, I was, I trust, 'brought nigh by the blood of Christ,' in August, 1756. Strange that I, who had so long sat under the means of grace in England, should be brought nigh unto God in an obscure part of Ireland, amidst a handful of God's people met together in a barn, and under the ministry of one who could hardly spell his name. Surely it is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous. The excellency of such power must be of God, and cannot be of man."
He was ordained in June, 1762. The circumstances and mode of his conversion seem to have disposed him to a strong and ruling conviction of the Calvinistic sense of the articles to which he subscribed, and to which, as he said, he subscribed because he believed them. He entered on his rural charge at Broad Hembury in 1768. And there his finely-tempered soul regaled itself now and then amidst the delicious retreats on the banks of the Otter stream, by celebrating the grace of his Redeemer in the immortal hymns and spiritual songs from which so many penitent and believing hearts continue to gather saving balm. Strange that harsh and bitter words should have been uttered m controversy with such kindred hymnists as Wesley and Olivers! When these poetic spirits sang, they 'were in perfect harmony; but when they dogmatized, there was intemperate discord. Toplady's strong conviction and warm zeal for those dogmas whose exclusive claims he thought to be demonstrated by his own conversion, sometimes mastered his native gentleness and Christian feeling, and led him astray into a false position. His example cautions the lover of truth against allowing himself to be provoked into controversy. Better let the truth work its own way. His polemic essays may repose on the theological shelf, but his hymns will for ever wreathe his name with holy light in the memory and heart of the Christian Church.
How beautiful was the closing scene of his life; "Sickness is no affliction," said the saintly pilgrim, "pain no curse, death itself no dissolution." To one who inquired whether his consolations always abounded, it was replied, "I cannot say there are no intermissions; for if there were not, my consolations would be more and greater than I could possibly bear; but when they abate they leave such an abiding sense of God's goodness, and of the certainty of my being fixed upon the eternal rock Christ Jesus, that my soul is still filled with peace and joy." Happy hymnist! He now realized the full meaning of his own
Rock of Ages, cleft for me. ,
Like many others, he had mistaken Wesley on one point, and, with strange perversity of error, condemned him for teaching the doctrine of ''' absolute perfection," as the Christian's privilege. It was in his zeal against this illusion that he entitled his " Eock of Ages," "A living and dying Prayer for the Holiest Believer in the world." But We>ley was as innocent of this alleged heresy as was Toplady himself; and no believer in the world would sing Toplady's hymnic prayer with more reverent feeling than John Wesley. Indeed, the last utterances of the two men were graciously akin. Wesley breathed the spirit of Toplady's hymn when in departing he sang—
I the chief of sinners am,
But Jesus died for me.
Blessed spirits! They have met in clearer light, and now see " eye to eye."
Hallowed genius continues to consecrate itself to that holy "name whereby we must be saved." Nor does it fail to furnish the succession of believing penitents with happy, suitable forms of tuneful expression in their appeals to Jesus. What the old Greek hymnists did for those who were coming to Christ in their day, and what Toplady did for later generations, both in east and west, has been done for the hearts that the Lord opens by still later voices of equal sweetness and power. Some of these are the voices of "devout women." A woman took the lead in holy song at the dawning of the "latter day." Women were most ready to weep with Him who wept for us, and to rejoice in His joy. The voices of women swelled the joy of the resurrection, mingled in the strains which cheered the simple tables around which the first disciples "ate their meat with gladness," and filled up the harmonies of those gatherings whose cheerful worship and happy expression gave them "favour with all the people." Many of the hymns preserved to us from the Syrian and Greek hymnists were, doubtless, from the hearts and pens of sons of holy mothers; or, it may be, some of the simple rhythmical celebrations of the birth and glory of the "Child Jesus" were utterances of widow-confessors, or mothers of consecrated "little ones." No name, however, has come down to us. No fragment can be verified as a woman's hymn. It has remained for more modern days to hear songs from "devout women " which equal the tenderest and most happy of all tender and happy melodies adapted to the softened hearts which long for a Saviour. One of these comes from Devon, from its southern coast. If anybody wishes to enjoy, within the limits of a few days' ramble, one of the richest interminglings of balmy air and bright blue sea, of hill and dale, copsy knoll and ferny hollow, villa-crowned heights and cottages in della, noble cliffs and terraced gardens, mountain-paths and quiet sparkling beaches, weedy rocks and whispering caverns, ever-varying, ever-harmonizingscenes, amidstwhich, above, beneath, around, and everywhere, grandeur is melting into beauty—he must be a quiet sojourner for a little while in the neighbourhood of Torquay. Of those who seek and find enjoyment in that delicious retreat, one lady has happily brightened the scenes already bright by the charm of a pious example, the quiet but diligent diffusion of truth, and the gracious exercise of her Christian charity. A lover of nature, a lover of souls, a lover of Christ, her talents and zeal have shed their best and most lasting blessing on the Christian world by the issue of those hymns which promise ever to reflect blessing on her name. Thousands who never saw Torquay, thousands who merely know the name of Charlotte Elliott, will find themselves nearer to the blessed Jesus while they sing her justly popular hymn—
Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was ahed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
0 Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am, though toss'd about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
0 Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind,
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in Thee I find,
O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve!
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am (thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down),
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
0 Lamb of God, I come!
This sounds like repeated and still repeated echoes of some sweet music ; and indeed the verses may be listened to as if they were the echoes of the coast-hills of Devon answering to the voice of spiritual songs which a century before arose from a quiet garden on the borders of the Hampshire downs. That, too, was a woman's voice; and that voice, too, was the voice of tender, melting desire for the Saviour—the voice of a penitent believer answering to the Divine call, "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest." It was the voice of one chosen "in the furnace of affliction ; " but the tones were sweet and clear, with that gentle ring which thrills the devotional heart as if something of pure heavenliness had touched it. So where it was when this song was uttered—
Thou lovely Source of true delight,
Whom I unseen adore,
Unveil Thy beauties to my sight,
That I may love Thee more.
Thy glory o'er creation shines,
But in Thy sacred word
I read, in fairer, brighter lines,
My bleeding, dying Lord.
"Tis here, whene'er my comforts droop,
And sins and sorrows rise,
Thy love, with cheerful beams of hope,
My fainting heart supplies.
But ah, too soon the pleasing scene
Is clouded o'er with pain;
My gloomy fears rise dark between,
And I again complain.
Jesus, my Lord, my life, my light,
Oh come with blissful ray,
Break radiant through the shades of night,
And chase my fears away.
Then shall my soul with rapture trace
The wonders of Thy love;
But the full glories of Thy face
Are only known above.
This hymn, with many others, had a deep interest in the heart of a venerable Nonconformist minister, who, in 1757, had the pastoral charge of a congregation, meeting in the village of Broughton in Hampshire, on the spot 'where their fathers had worshipped from the time of the Commonwealth. The good pastor writes in his diary:— "1757, Nov. 29. This day Nanny sent a part of her composition to London to be printed. I entreat a gracious God, who enabled and stirred her up to such a work, to direct in it, and bless it for the good and comfort of many." And again: —" Oct. 1759. Her brother brought with him her poetry, not yet bound. I earnestly desire the blessing of God upon that work, that it may be made very useful. I can admire the gifts that others are blessed with, and praise God for His distinguishing favours to our family. I have now been reading our daughter's printed books, which I have earnestly desired might be accompanied with the Divine Spirit in the perusing." And yet again:— "Nov. 27. Mr. W spoke very highly in commendation of her book. I pray God to make it useful, and keep her humble." "Which is most beautiful in all this, the simple naturalness of the father's feeling, or the devout spirit of the Christian parent? The good man's prayers were richly answered in his daughter's character and life, and in the hearts of all who read her pious, pure, and finely-toned hymns. One song alone of hers forbids a doubt of this—
Jesus, my Lord, in Thy dear name unite,
All things my heart calls great, or good, or sweet;
Divinest springs of wonder and delight,
In Thee, Thou fairest of ten thousand, meet.
Do I not love Thee? ah, my conscious heart
Nor boldly dares affirm, nor can deny;
Oh, bid these clouds of gloomy fear depart,
With one bright ray from Thy propitious eye!
Do I not love Thee ? can I then allow
Within my breast pretenders to Thy throne?
Oh, take my homage, at Thy feet I bow!,
No other Lord my heart desires to own. i
Take, take my passions in Thy sovereign hand,
Refine and mould them with Almighty skill;
Then shall I love the voice of Thy command,
And all my powers rejoice to do Thy will.
Thy love inspires the active sons of light,
With swift-wing'd zeal they wait upon Thy word;
Oh, let that love, in these abodes of night,
Bid my heart glow to serve my dearest Lord.
Come, love Divine, my languid wishes raise!
With heavenly zeal this faint cold heart inflame,
To join with angels in my Saviour's praise,
Like them obey His will, adore His name.
But can the mind, with heavy clay opprest,
To emulate seraphic ardour rise?
While sin pollutes her joys, forbids her rest,
How can she join the worship of the skies?
Yet He commands to love and to obey,
Whose hand sustains those happy spirits there;
In Him.'my soul, who is thy Guide, thy Stay,
In Him confide, to Him commit thy care.
Jesus, my Lord, oh give me strength divine!
Then shall my powers in glad obedience move;
Receive the heart that wishes to be Thine,
And teach, oh teach me to obey and love!
This is one of the hymns from the volume on which the fond father invoked a blessing—a volume of hymns and poems by "Theodosia." And who and what Theodosia was is happily revealed in one of her letters to her "honoured father:"—"As many of these verses have been favoured with your approbation, I have now at your desire collected them into a little book, which I beg leave to present to you as a humble acknowledgment of my grateful sense of your parental affection, and the benefit 1 have received from your instructions. If you should survive me, it will, I doubt not, be preserved by you (however inconsiderable its real value) as a mournfully pleasing remembrance of a departed child who once shared your tender regard. If you think they are capable of affording pleasure or profit, you may, if you please, communicate any of them to friends or fellow-Christians. They may, perhaps, find seasons when the thoughts of the unworthy writer may suit their own, and the resemblance produce delight. If while I am sleeping in the silent grave my thoughts are of any real benefit to the meanest of the servants of my God, be the praise ascribed to the Almighty Giver of all grace. May the blessed hope of eternal life cheer my soul amidst the pangs of dissolution! May the blissful smiles of my Redeemer illuminate the gloomy shades of death, and point out my passage to the mansions of eternal day; that I may be able to say, in the full evidence of faith and hope, I am going to 'be ever with the Lord.' Then shall my God be glorified, and my dear relatives comforted in my death. May the Almighty long preserve your valuable life, and continue to make you a blessing to your family, a useful instructor to the people under your care, and an ornament to religion, is the ardent wish and prayer of, dear and honoured father, your ever dutiful and grateful daughter, "Anne Steele."