Rees Prichard (1579-1644 / Wales)
A Prayer For A Sick Person
O God of justice, health's immortal Sire!
Thou Judge of all! thou raiser of the low!
O hear my suit, and grant me my desire,
And, for Christ's sake, some pity on me show!
In body weak, and in my mind not strong,
To thee, with heavy heart, and sighing sore,
I drag, O God! my languid limbs along,
Thy succour and assistance to implore.
Thou always art with grace and mercy crown'd,
To anger, slow, and of forbearance great,
In straits and troubles, easy to be found,
For Christ's sake, pity my forlorn estate!
Through thy indulgence, long in health I bloom'd,
But now I fall the victim of thy rage,
And am, for my offences, fairly doom'd,
With pain and with distemper to engage.
O God! I have deserv'd - I freely own,
Long since, a punishment much more severe;
This ail was therefore justly on me thrown,
Which from thy hand, Almighty Lord! I bear.
A sudden and a dangerous disease
Thou mightest have dispatch'd, to end my days,
And turn'd me into hell, (did it thee please)
Nor granted time for me to mend my ways:
Yet thou didst deign this malady to send,
Like a most merciful and gracious God,
To give me warning of my latter end,
And shew me penitence's painful road.
I take it as a token of thy love,
That thou shou'dst treat me as a lawful son,
And by thy punishment my mind improve,
Or by my errors I had been undone.
It is an act, just God! both good and kind,
The body, by such penance, to distress:
Since too much cockering had hurt my mind,
And the spoil'd soul had sicken'd, thro' excess.
When I with never-failing health was bless'd,
My sins, though numerous, were never seen:
But now, alas! I am with pain oppress'd,
I nothing else can see, besides my sin.
How many are my faults? how vast their sum?
To what a countless heap do they amount?
They're more than all the stars, that deck the gloom,
Shou'd I attempt their numbers to recount.
How foolishly, O God! was I thy foe?
Perverse, as Pharaoh was in former days,
Though thou didst still the culprit kindly wooe,
To turn to thee, and to amend his ways.
I own, that I have merited much more -
Much more chastisement, by a thousand times;
Since I have sinn'd against thy sacred pow'r,
E'en from my youth, by oft-repeated crimes:
Yet well I know, that thou'rt with mercy fraught,
To pardon those who their vile courses leave,
And ready to remit each sinner's fault,
With all, who greatly for their errors grieve.
Though nought I've merited but pains and woes,
And indispos'd in some disease to lie,
Yet mercifully, Lord! of me dispose,
And on my vices never cast thine eye.
Let Christ's sad death, and Christ's obedience,
For all my sins full satisfaction make,
Deep in his wounds conceal each foul offence,
And be propitious to me for his sake.
My life let me not in pollution end,
Ere I have any useful action done;
But give me time my morals to amend,
Before thy mercy be entirely gone.
Hold thy afflicting hand, and soothe my woes,
Abate my sorrow, and allay my pain,
Nor on my soul a greater load impose,
Than this my sickly body can sustain.
Although my soul at times presumes to say,
'Lord, take my spirit to the realms above,'
Yet, in my coward flesh, I oft'ner pray,
'This bitter cup from me, O God! remove.'
Although my soul and body are but ill -
Prepar'd as yet, to wing their final flight ;
Yet grant me time, (if it be thy bless'd will)
To trim them both, and order them aright.
I ask not time of thee, O God! my days
In luxury and indolence to spend;
But that I may proclaim aloud thy praise,
And, all I can, of my bad manners mend.
O Lord! if it be pleasing in thy sight,
Like Hezekiah's, lengthen thou my days;
Give me some sign that thou hast cur'd me quite,
And conquer'd my inveterate disease.
However, if it be thy gracious will,
That yet a while my punishment shou'd last ;
I'm ready thy good pleasure to fulfil :
But strengthen me, until the trial's past.
In health, I only did my God incense,
When sick, my pain I by my sighs express,
What can I else? unless thou shou'dst dispense
Thy Holy Spirit's aid, in my distress.
Give me, O Lord! O give me some relief,
Remove my restlessness - my pains allay,
Say to my soul, e'en in its greatest grief,
'I am thy Saviour, and thy only stay!'
Thou'rt the Samaritan, O Christ! so kind,
I, the poor trav'ler, wounded on the way,
My gaping wounds with proper dressings bind,
Comfort my heart, my painful smart allay.
Thy hand, O God! does heavy on me lie,
Yet in my God my confidence shall be:
Though, under thy correction, I shou'd die,
I'll trust in thee, and in none else, but thee.
The keys of life, and those of death, are thine,
And the grim tyrant does not come, O Lord
To touch e'en but a single hair of mine,
'Till he receives the sanction of thy word.
O, make me ready still to meet this foe,
For his incursion watchful let me wait ;
So that, behind him mounted, I may go
To endless bliss, in the celestial state!
Let not the toys of this precarious state -
Let not God's justice on the day of doom -
Let not the fear of death, my zeal abate,
Nor stop my flight to my eternal home.
The fear of death in my faint heart allay -
The world let me renounce, and all its pride -
Wash in Christ's blood my filthy sins away -
And, with his righteousness, my vices hide!
In all Christ's promises let me confide,
Give me strong hopes that I the crown shall gain -
In sickness be my patience firmly try'd,
And make me long plaudit to obtain.
Thy spirit give, to calm my troubled breast,
And bid thy angels fence me in around -
Of all my hours, make thou the last, the best,
And, at my death, let me with joy be crown'd.
Let not my soul, my shepherd Christ! be lost -
The precious charge let not the lions tear -
For dear enough to thee its purchase cost -
The trust to heav'n, among thy angels bear!
Comments about this poem (A Prayer For A Sick Person by Rees Prichard )
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