John Bowring

(1792-1872 / England)

Divine Influences - Poem by John Bowring

Thou, whose high praise in heaven and earth is sung,
Each heart pervading, tuning every tongue;
Thou, whom my soul devoutly would confess
In joy's bright hour,-nor in affection's less;
Whose mercy in the sunshine and the storm
Alike is active,-whose invisible form
Rides in the hurricane;-Thou whose depths profound,
And heights sublime, not earth nor heaven can sound;
Infinite power, and goodness without bound!
Thou unseen cause, conductor, end of all,
We know Thee not,-yet God and Father call.
We know Thee not,-but know and feel thou art:
Our eye can see Thee not; but, Lord! our heart
Is touched as with Thy spirit, and even now
I feel Thee,-feel Thee in this holy glow.
A peace, which none but Thou could'st give, inspires
My bosom;-heavenly aspiration fires
My towering thoughts. O God! what breath but Thine
Could kindle aspirations so divine!
Benignant condescension! that Thy ray
Should send its brightness through a clod of clay,
And raise to Thy abode,-to heaven,-to Thee,-
The poor weak children of mortality!
Thus privileged, let my spirit-rousing thought,
Which vainly seeks to praise Thee as it ought,
Pour forth its humble strains. Eternal Lord!
Thy majesty might crush the embryo word
With its gigantic presence; but Thy love
Gives it a voice, and wafts its tones above.
Grant me, Eternal One! Thy light to cheer,
Thy hand to guide me, while I journey here;
Thy grace to help, Thy peace my soul to fill,
And sorrow's storm may thunder if it will.
I am supported by Thy holy arm,-
The cloud may burst,-but O it cannot harm.
I say not, 'Shield me, Father, from distress,'
But 'Wake my heart to truth and holiness.'
I ask not that my earthly course may run
Cloudless, but humbly, 'Let Thy will be done.'
The peace the world can give not, nor destroy,
The love which is the greatest, and the joy
That's given to angels,-to perceive and own
That all Thy will is light and truth alone,
And bliss-producing;-these, and such as these,
Be mine;-the vain world's fleeting vanities-
Pomps, pleasures, riches, honours, glory, pride,
(Idols by man's perverseness deified,)
I envy not.-Do Thou my steps control,-
Erect devotion's temple in my soul;
And there my God! my King! unrivalled sway:
So let existence, like a Sabbath day,
Glide softly by; and let that temple be
A shrine devoted all to truth and Thee.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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