My Heart is Resting, O my God

“The Lord is my portion, saith my soul;
therefore will I hope in Him.”
Lamentations 3:24

My heart is resting, O my God—
I will give thanks and sing;
My heart is at the secret source
Of every precious thing.
Now the frail vessel Thou hast made
No hand but Thine shall fill—
For the waters of the Earth have failed,
And I am thirsty still.

I thirst for springs of heavenly life,
And here all day they rise—
I seek the treasure of Thy love,
And close at hand it lies.
And a new song is in my mouth
To long loved music set—
Glory to Thee for all the grace
I have not tasted yet.

Glory to Thee for strength withheld,
For want and weakness known—
And the fear that sends me to Thy breast
For what is most my own.
I have a heritage of joy
That yet I must not see;
But the hand that bled to make it mine
Is keeping it for me.

There is a certainty of love
That sets my heart at rest—
A calm assurance for today
That to be poor is best—
A prayer reposing on His truth
Who hath made all things mine,
That draws my captive will to Him,
And makes it one with Thine.

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Published in: on January 13, 2011 at 2:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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Some Old Puritain Love Letters

From: American literature: a study of the men and the books that in the earlier and later times reflect the American spirit , William Joseph Long, (1913)

“As a supplement to the public records of the Colonists, we venture to present here a few old letters — dearer, and perhaps more significant, because they were never intended for publication. Here is life indeed, life that retains its sweetness and serenity in the midst of peril and hardship, as a flower retains its perfume though beaten by the wind and the rain. A fragrance as of lavender greets us as we open them, and their yellow pages seem to treasure the sunshine of long ago. Reading them, we forget the narrowness and stern isolation of the Puritans; we remember that ideals are eternal; that the hearts of men have not changed since the first settlers landed at Jamestown and Plymouth Rock; and that in their log cabins, as in our modern homes and workshops, love, faith and duty were the supreme incentives to noble living.

These letters, with many others, may be found in the Appendix to Winthrop’s History of New England (edition of 1853), in Robert C. Winthrop’s Life and Letters of John Winthrop (1864-1867), and in Some Old Puritan Love Letters (1894). In our selections we have abridged the missives and slightly modernized the spelling, keeping enough of the old forms, however, to preserve the flavor of the original.”

{Nov. 26, 1624)

My sweet Wife, — I blesse the Lorde for his continued blessings upon thee and our familye; and I thank thee for thy kinde lettres.But I knowe not what to saye for myself. I should mende and prove a better husband, havinge the helpe and example of so good a wife; but I growe still worse. I was wonte heretofore, when I was longe absent, to make some supplye with volumes of lettres; but now I can scarce afforde thee a few lines. Well, there is no helpe but by enlarging thy patience, and strengtheninge thy good opinion of him who loves thee as his owne soul and should count it his greatest affliction to live without thee. . . . The Lorde blesse and keepe thee, and all ours, and sende us a joyful meetinge. So I kisse my sweet wife and rest

Thy faithful husband

Jo. Winthrop

(1627)

My most sweet Husband, — How dearely welcome thy kinde letter was to me I am not able to expresse. The sweetnesse of it did much refresh me. What can be more pleasinge to a wife than to heare of the welfayre of her best beloved, and how he is pleased with her poore endeavors. I blush to hear my selfe commended, knowinge my owne wants; but it is your love that conceives the best and makes all thinges seem better than they are. I wish that I may be allwayes pleasinge to thee, and that those comforts we have in each other may be dayly increased, as far as they be pleasing to God. I confess I cannot doe ynough for thee, but thou art pleased to accept the will for the deede, and rest contented.

I have many reasons to make me love thee, whereof I will name two: first because thou lovest God, and secondly because that thou lovest me. If these two were wantinge, all the rest would be eclipsed. But I must leave this discourse and goe about my household affayers. I am a bad huswife to be so long from them; but I must needs borrowe a little time to talke with thee, my sweet heart. It will be but two or three weekes before I see thee, though they be longe ones. God will bring us together in his good time, for which time I shall pray. Farewell my good Husband; the Lord keep thee.

Your obedient wife

Margaret Winthrope

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Published in: on January 13, 2011 at 12:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Moral Tales: Strange Adventures

From The New-York mirror, and ladies’ literary gazette, Volume 4, 1827

Although the following little tale may apparently carry with it much of the air of fiction, yet it is all substantially correct, and but the bare recital of events that have actually transpired.

Near the close of the last century, Captain S., a native of New-England, who, at an early age was entrusted with the command of a mercantile vessel, made a voyage to one of the West-India islands. Having reached his destined port, disposed of his cargo, and made the necessary preparations for his return, one day as he was walking the streets of the large and flourishing port at which his vessel was anchored, he observed a well-dressed female walking near him and in the same direction. Her features, though bearing the evident marks of sorrow and dejection, were beautiful, and her whole appearance uncommonly interesting. Struck with her beauty and her prepossessing and dignified demeanor, Captain S. politely inquired whether she might be walking far in his direction, acquainting her at the same time with the house of his lodgings, to which he was then repairing. She assured him she was going directly to the same house he had mentioned. Captain S. then proffered his services in conveying a basket of considerable size, which she carried in her hand. She thanked him in a soft and tremulous tone of voice, and timidly delivered him the basket. Captain S. took the little burden from her hand, wholly unconscious of what it contained; and little dreaming what to his future life would be the consequences of the action of that moment. He observed, however, as he took the basket, that there was a singular hesitation in her manners, and that her. cheeks were crimsoned by a deep blush; but imputing it to no other cause than maiden timidity, he walked on in silence. The lady soon remarked, that she must make a call at the house then at hand, for a few moments, and, if he would convey the basket to his lodgings, she would soon be there to take charge of it herself. And throwing an anxious look on Captain S. and his charge, she immediately disappeared. Captain S. proceeded to his boardinghouse, and deposited the basket in the hall. He seated himself at the dinner table, and jovially related his adventure with the fair unknown. His host, better acquainted with the manners of the town, and the impositions which had sometimes been played off on strangers, smiled, and rallied him on the possibility of his basket’s containing something more than a dead weight, as he had humourously termed his burden. At this moment the cries of an infant were heard in the direction of the basket. Captain S. was astonished, and not a little chagrined at this sudden proof of what his host had just suggested. Unmoved, however, by the laugh which was now turned merrily upon him, he proceeded to the basket, and found it contained not a dead weight, but a living, healthy, and handsome looking female infant. No mother appeared to claim or offer it protection. Captain S. although incensed at the trick, and highly vexed with that credulous and honest simplicity in himself, which had thus rendered him the dupe of female artifice, was, not withstanding, endued with too much philanthropy, and too much humanity of feeling, to suffer his charge to be neglected. He procured a nurse for the present, and before he left the island made ample provision for the future support of the child. He now returned home, and did not visit the place till some years after, when he found his former helpless ward had become an interesting little prattler. He soon became much attached to her, and no longer regretted the incident which gave him, as he termed her, his adopted daughter. During the following twelve years Captain S. frequently visited the island, and always provided liberally for the support and education of the child that was thrown on his benevolence, without any of that regret, that drawback of feeling, which so often attends the ostensive generosity of the penurious, and destroys the merit of their charities. His heart was warmed by generous impulses, and required not the aid of arithmetical calculation to measure the bounds of its munificence. He always manifested toward her the affection and tenderness of a parent, and took a parent’s interest in her welfare. She had now arrived at the age of fourteen—an age, which, in that soft climate, confers all the maturity of womanhood, and more perfectly, perhaps, than any other period, opens the blossom of female beauty. She was esteemed as possessing an uncommon share of beauty and vivacity. And such was Captain S’s attachment that it was generally supposed that his was other than a parental affection, and it soon became rumoured in town that he was about to lead her to the hymeneal altar. Captain S. was at this time making preparations to return to New-England. One day as he stood on the wharf at which his vessel was moored, a billet was put into his hands by a person who immediately disappeared. He perused and found it a polite request of attendance to dine at a house in the city, which was particularized in the billet. The house and family who occupied it were to him perfectly unknown ; and so singular were all the circumstances attending the invitation, that he, for some time, hesitated whether it would be expedient to accept it. Curiosity, however, soon conquered his doubts, and he resolved to attend. At the appointed hour he arrived at the house, and was ushered into an elegant apartment by a lady who called him by name, and introduced herself by the name of Miss W., assuring him, at the same time, that the cause of his invitation should be the subject of a future explanation. Captain S. thought he had seen the countenance of his fair entertainer before; but he was unable to recall to mind when, or where, it might have happened ; and the hour which succeeded, spent in lively conversation on the leading topics of the day, brought nothing with it to assist his memory or allay his curiosity; and yet it brought along with it an increasing gratification, a pleasing interest which he had never before experienced. A happy dream of uncertainty, if the expression be allowed, was floating over his mind, and sensations were awakened in his bosom which he was conscious he had before, on some occasion or other, felt, and he knew that these sensations had been happy ones, and yet his memory was unable to identify them.

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Published in: on January 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm  Comments (3)  

Christmas, 1880 by George MacDonald

Great-hearted child, thy very being The Son,
Who know’st the hearts of all us prodigals;—
For who is prodigal but he who has gone
Far from the true to heart it with the false?—
Who, who but thou, that, from the animals’,
Know’st all the hearts, up to the Father’s own,
Can tell what it would be to be alone!

Alone! No father!—At the very thought
Thou, the eternal light, wast once aghast;
A death in death for thee it almost wrought!
But thou didst haste, about to breathe thy last,
And call’dst out Father ere thy spirit passed,
Exhausted in fulfilling not any vow,
But doing his will who greater is than thou.

That we might know him, thou didst come and live;
That we might find him, thou didst come and die;
The son-heart, brother, thy son-being give—
We too would love the father perfectly,
And to his bosom go back with the cry,
Father, into thy hands I give the heart
Which left thee but to learn how good thou art!

There are but two in all the universe—
The father and his children—not a third;
Nor, all the weary time, fell any curse!
Not once dropped from its nest an unfledged bird
But thou wast with it! Never sorrow stirred
But a love-pull it was upon the chain
That draws the children to the father again!

O Jesus Christ, babe, man, eternal son,
Take pity! we are poor where thou art rich:
Our hearts are small; and yet there is not one
In all thy father’s noisy nursery which,
Merry, or mourning in its narrow niche,
Needs not thy father’s heart, this very now,
With all his being’s being, even as thou!

Published in: on December 24, 2010 at 11:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

By Louisa May Alcott, November, 1881.

SIXTY YEARS AGO, up among the New Hampshire hills, lived Farmer Bassett, with a houseful of sturdy sons and daughters growing up about him. They were poor in money, but rich in land and love, for the wide acres of wood, corn, and pasture land fed, warmed, and clothed the flock, while mutual patience, affection, and courage made the old farmhouse a very happy home.

November had come; the crops were in, and barn, buttery, and bin were overflowing with the harvest that rewarded the summer’s hard work. The big kitchen was a jolly place just now, for in the great fireplace roared a cheerful fire; on the walls hung garlands of dried apples, onions, and corn; up aloft from the beams shone crook-necked squashes, juicy hams, and dried venison–for in those days deer still haunted the deep forests, and hunters flourished. Savory smells were in the air; on the crane hung steaming kettles, and down among the red embers copper saucepans simmered, all suggestive of some approaching feast.

A white-headed baby lay in the old blue cradle that had rocked six other babies, now and then lifting his head to look out, like a round, full moon, then subsided to kick and crow contentedly, and suck the rosy apple he had no teeth to bite. Two small boys sat on the wooden settle shelling corn for popping, and picking out the biggest nuts from the goodly store their own hands had gathered in October. Four young girls stood at the long dresser, busily chopping meat, pounding spice, and slicing apples; and the tongues of Tilly, Prue, Roxy, and Rhody went as fast as their hands. Farmer Bassett, and Eph, the oldest boy, were “chorin’ ’round” outside, for Thanksgiving was at hand, and all must be in order for that time-honored day.

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Published in: on November 24, 2010 at 4:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lilacs

Lilacs,
False blue,
White
Purple,
Colour of lilac,
Your great puffs of flowers
Are everywhere in this my New England.
Among your heart-shaped leaves
Orange orioles hop like music-box birds and sing
Their little weak soft songs;
In the crooks of your branches
The bright eyes of song sparrows sitting on spotted eggs
Peer restlessly through the light and shadow
Of all Springs.
Lilacs in dooryards
Holding quiet conversations with an early moon;
Lilacs watching a deserted house
Settling sideways into the grass of an old road;
Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a lopsided shock of bloom
Above a cellar dug into a hill.
You are everywhere.
You were everywhere.
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Published in: on May 18, 2010 at 4:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Good-natured Kiss

As to the salute, the ‘pressure of the lips— that is an interchange of affectionate greeting, or tender farewell, sacred to the dearest connexions alone. Our parents—our brothers—our near kindred—our husband—our lover, ready to become our husband,—our bosom’s inmate, the friend of our heart’s core—to them are exclusively consecrated the lips of delicacy,—and woe be to her who yields them to the stain of profanation!

By the last word, I do not mean the embrace of vice, but merely that indiscriminate facility which some young .women have in permitting what they call a good-natured kiss. These goodnatured kiss have often very bad effects, and can never be permitted without injuring the fine gloss of that exquisite modesty, which is the fairest garb of virgin beauty.

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Published in: on February 18, 2010 at 11:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

In Heavenly Love Abiding

In heavenly love abiding, no change my heart shall fear.
And safe in such confiding, for nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me, my heart may low be laid,
But God is round about me, and can I be dismayed?

Wherever He may guide me, no want shall turn me back.
My Shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waking, His sight is never dim.
He knows the way He’s taking, and I will walk with Him.

Green pastures are before me, which yet I have not seen.
Bright skies will soon be over me, where darkest clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure, my path to life is free.
My Savior has my treasure, and He will walk with me.

Anna Laetitia Waring (1820-1910)

Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 2:46 am  Comments (1)  

Jane Austen’s 234th Birthday

It is never polite to mention a lady’s age, but since she is deceased we shall make an exception.

I invite you to visit another of my blogs, Carla’s Pathways, as I reminisce -

Recalling the Ball on Jane Austen’s 234th Birthday!

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 12:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Christmas Card History

Season’s Greetings by Carla Gade


The first Christmas Card, designed in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole.

Season’s Greetings” is a motto more often used on winter greeting cards than as a spoken phrase.  It is an easy way to refer to the three major winter holidays that we celebrate in America – Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.  “Happy Holidays” is another common way to say it.  Here is a little history that tells how greeting cards have been sent through the ages.

The custom of sending greeting cards goes back to long ago when the people of China and Egypt sent messages of good will to one another.  In the 1400’s  people in Europe send handmade Valentines.

In the late 1700’s merchants sent their customers best wishes for the new year. The cards were created on lithographs and hand-colored. A lithograph is an etching on a stone that can be reproduced on paper.

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Published in: on December 15, 2009 at 6:28 pm  Comments (2)  
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