Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A PARAPHRASE ON THE PRAYER, USED IN THE CHURCH LITURGY, by JOHN BYROM



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A PARAPHRASE ON THE PRAYER, USED IN THE CHURCH LITURGY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: It will bear the repeating again and again
Last Line: Of glory to god, and salvation to man.
Subject(s): Christianity; Churches; Prayer; Cathedrals


IT will bear the repeating again and again,—
Will the pray'r for all sorts and conditions of men;
Not to this or that place, name or nation confin'd,
But embracing, at once, the whole race of mankind;
With a love universal instructing to call
On the One Great creating Preserver of all;
That his way may be known upon earth, and be found
His true saving health, by the nations all round.

He,—who willeth all men to be sav'd, and partake
Of the bliss, which distinguish'd their primitive make;
To arise to that life, by a second new birth,
Which Adam had lost, at his fall upon earth;—
Will accept ev'ry heart, whose unfeigned intent
Is to pray for that blessing, which He himself meant,
When he gave his own Son, for whoever should will
To escape, by his means, from the regions of ill.

But tho' all the whole world, in a sense that is good,
To be God's house, or church, may be well understood;
And the men who dwell on it, his children, for whom
It has pleas'd Him that Christ the Redeemer should come;
Yet his church must consist, in all saving respect,
Of them who receive him, not them who reject;
And his true, real children, or people, are they,
Who, when call'd by the Saviour, believe and obey.

Now this excellent pray'r, in this sense of the phrase,
For the Catholic Church more especially prays;
That it may be so constantly govern'd, and led
By the Spirit of God, and of Jesus its head,
That all such as are taught to acknowledge its creed,
And profess to be christians, may be so indeed;
May hold the one faith, in a peace without strife,
And the proof of its truth,—a right practical life.

No partial distinction is here to be sought;
For the good of mankind still enlivens the thought;
Since God, by the Church, in its Catholic sense,
Salvation to all is so pleas'd to dispense,
That the farther her faith and her patience increase,
More hearts will be won to the Gospel of peace;
Till the world shall come under truth's absolute sway,
And the nations, converted, bring on the great day.

Meanwhile, tho' eternity be her chief care,
The suff'rers in time have a suitable share:
She prays to the fatherly goodness of God,
For all, whom affliction has under its rod;
That inward or outward the cause of their grief,
Mind, body, estate, He would grant them relief,
Due comfort, and patience; and finally bless
With the most happy ending of all their distress.

The compassion, here taught, is unlimited too,
And the whole of mankind the petitioning view:
As none can foresee, whether Christian or not,
What afflictions may fall in this world to his lot;
The Church, which considers whose providence sends,
Prays that all may obtain its beneficent ends;
And whenever the suff'rings, here needful, are past,
By repentance and faith may be sav'd at the last.

The particular mention of such, as desire
To be publickly pray'd for, as made in our quire,
Infers to all others God's merciful grace;
Tho' we hear not their names, who are in the like case;
It excites our attention to instances known,
Of relations, or neighbours, or friends of our own;
For the pray'r, in its nature, extends to all those,
Who are in the same trouble, friends to us or foes.

All which she entreats, for His sake, to be done,
Who suffer'd to save them,—Christ Jesus, his Son;
In respect to the world, the Redeemer of all;
"To the church of the faithful, most chiefly," saith Paul;
And to them, who shall suffer, whoever they be,
In the Spirit of Christ, in the highest degree:
How ought such a goodness all minds to prepare,
For a hearty Amen to this catholic pray'r!

The church is, indeed, in its real intent,
An assembly, where nothing but friendship is meant;
And the utter extinction of foeship and wrath,
By the working of love, in the strength of its faith:
This gives it its holy and catholic name,
And truly confirms its apostolic claim;
Shewing what the one Saviour's one mission had been,—
Go and teach all the world—ev'ry creature therein.

In the praise ever due to the gospel of grace,
Its universality holds the first place:
When an angel proclaim'd its glad tidings, the morn
That the Son of the virgin, the Saviour was born;
Which shall be to all people—was said to complete
The angelical message, so good and so great;
Full of Glory to God, in the regions above,
And of Goodness to men, is so boundless a love.

This short supplication, or litany, read,
When the longer with us is not wont to be said,
Tho' brief in expression, as fully imports
The Will to all blessings for men of all sorts;
Same brotherly love, by which christians are taught
To pray without ceasing, or limiting thought;
That religion may flourish upon its true plan,
Of glory to God, and salvation to man.





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