From Dr. Parker’s sermon on Song of Solomon 1:1-8.
Almighty God, thou art great and we are small, and we are the work of thine hands, and thou hast numbered the very hairs of our head, and set a watch about every step of our life, and thy love hath made us precious unto thee. Behold, we cannot tell what we read in thy word because of its great mystery of light. We hear mighty thunderings and see flamings of ineffable glory, and we hear the sound of a gong which we cannot follow, and yet again dost thou come to us in gentle speeches and in visions which the heart can seize, and thou dost drop upon our life thy word, which is sweeter than honey, yea, than the honeycomb. We would see somewhat of thy majesty and thy glory, that we may be ennobled thereby, and lifted up, as it were, with the ascension of the angels. But specially would we pray evermore to have access to thy power, grace, wisdom, and love, for the supply of daily necessity, for the direction of continual perplexity, and for the satisfaction of every hunger of the soul. We bless thee for the revelation of thyself in Christ Jesus, who was found in fashion as a man; we thank thee for all his words of truth and beauty; we bless thee for his discourses, for his miracles, and above all for his sacrificial death and for his resurrection and ascension to glory, where he now is, praying for every one of us, and covering our weakness with his infinite strength. Enable us to follow him as we may be able; according to the littleness of our power and opportunity may we study his life, put our feet in his footprints, undertake to do his will, and may we be found at last as his commended servants. We bless thee for a life we cannot understand; its joys are keen, its pains are often intolerable. Thou hast given to our life day and night, beautiful light, sweet spring times and summer hours, occasions of rapture and of heavenly vision and divine absorption; then hast thou sent a great darkness upon us like a judgment, and there have been sounds of thunder in it as of great wrath, and the stars have been withdrawn, and thou hast caused us to feel the gloom and the burden of night. Do with us what thou wilt. Not our will, but thine, be done, but take not thy Holy Spirit from us; in our deepest distresses may we be able to say, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. May there be no extremity in our life which shall be as the victory of the enemy, but in our greatest exigencies may we find thy grace more than sufficient; in our keenest pains may we know how all-healing and all-comforting is the balm of thy pity. We give ourselves to thee again in the name of Jesus Christ, our Mediator. We yield ourselves to thee, body, soul, and spirit, our flesh and our will, our imagination and our supreme desire, all the energy of our souls, and all the helplessness of our life; we would lay these at thy feet; they are thine. Thou knowest their highest uses; purify us as vessels are made pure for the use of the sanctuary. Whether our days be many or few, may they all be thine, and may we so spend our little time as to have created within us a burning desire to know what is to be revealed beyond. Regard thy servants who have come to this resting-place from business, from occupation of divers kinds, from many tumults, vexations, and trials of the world. Give them rest awhile, a little breathing time, and may there be rents amid the clouds of their life through which the light of the heavens shall shine. Regard those who are given to the study of thy Word, and who are preparing themselves under the dispensation of thy Spirit for the unfoldment of heavenly riches; be the Lamp shining upon their book, the Spirit inspiring their understanding and their heart. Be with those who live lives of weary monotony, the night as the day and the day as the night, the whole year one pain of weariness; draw such forth into the light of thy sanctuary, and inspire such with a desire to do the work of thy vineyard. Look upon all little children, and grant unto them blessing according to their necessity, salvation from sin, protection from every temptation and snare; may they live to a good old age and be better than were their forefathers. The Lord be with our sick ones, with great comforting, developing in them all sweetness of patience and completeness of resignation, so that the strong may learn from the weak, and the sick chamber may be the church of the house. Be with our friends who are far away, and yet in sympathy and love near at hand; unite us in the fellowship of common trusts and common anticipations; may we know the unity of the spirit and the sweetness of the bond of peace. Let the land receive of the rain of thy blessing. Spare not the cloud, but pour it forth in refreshing showers upon the whole country. God save the Queen; multiply the days of her life, and establish her throne in righteousness, equity, and all honourableness. Direct our leaders; inspire those who create and foster the national sentiment; save us from all tyranny, oppression, and from all unholy and disastrous weapons and instrumentalities, and send upon the land the spirit of patriotic contentment. May the blessing of the Lord be turned into blessings for all mankind. The earth is thine; we pray for every corner of it, for its broad continents and its little islands, its centres of light and its places of gloom; for the shepherd upon the hills, for the sailor upon the waves, for the prisoner in his cell, for the wanderer in the jungle and the wilderness,—for all mankind; we are all thine. Make the earth thine house, light it with thy glory, and may it be the centre of thine approbation, having fixed upon it the love of its Creator-Father. Amen.
– People’s Bible, The – The People’s Bible – Ecclesiastes – Isaiah 26: Volume 14.