The Proclamation of Thanksgiving and Praise

24 11 2015

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

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The Incarnation

14 12 2014

Glory be to God on high,
And peace on earth descend;
Now God comes down, He bows the sky,
And shows Himself our Friend!
God the invisible appears,
God the Blest, the Great I AM,
He sojourns in this vale of tears,
And Jesus is His Name.

Him by the angels all adored,
Their Maker and their King;
Lo, tidings of their humbled Lord
They now to mortals bring;
Emptied of His majesty,
Of His dazzling glories shorn,
Our being’s Source begins to be,
And God Himself is born!

See the eternal Son of God
A mortal Son of Man,
Now dwelling in an earthly clod
Whom Heaven cannot contain!
Stand amazed, ye heavens, look at this!
See the Lord of earth and skies
Low humbled to the dust He is,
And in a manger lies!

So do the sons of men rejoice
The Prince of Peace proclaim,
With Heaven’s host lift up our voice,
And shout Immanuel’s Name;
Our knees and hearts to Him we bow;
Of our flesh, and of our bone,
See—Jesus is our Brother now,
And God is all our own!

 

Charles Wesley

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In Beauty from the Skies

14 09 2014

The hills are clad in purple and in gold,
The ripened maize is gathered in the shock,
The frost has kissed the nuts, their shells unfold,
And fallen leaves are floating on the lock.

The flowers their many-colored petals drop;
But seed-pods full and ripe they leave behind,
A prophecy of more abundant crop,
And proof that nature in decay is kind.

But still the dahlia blooms, and pansies, too;
The golden-rod still rears its yellow crest.
The sumach bobs are now of crimson hue,
The luscious grape has donned its purple vest.

The forest trees, so long arrayed in green,
Wear now a robe like Joseph’s coat of old,
Brighter than that on eastern satrap seen,
Tho’ clad was he in purple and fine gold.

The woodbine twined about the giant oak
Blends with its purple-red a brighter shade.
Co-mingled thus our praises they evoke,
Tho’ we know well this glory soon must fade.

The fields are green with grass and new-sown wheat,
Tho’ here and there a brown stalk may appear,
A dying rag-weed, ripened by the heat,
To reproduce an hundred-fold next year.

The melon yellows in the kindly sun,
The peach puts on its blush like virtuous maid,
The gourd its snow-white band like brow of nun,
While flower and gum the air with fragrance lade.

The swallows gather on the fence and wire,
Chatter a loud farewell to barn and nest,
And then on wings which never seem to tire
They fly away in southern bowers to rest.

The thrush no longer sings its tender song
In osage thicket, or in locust hedge,
But pipes its notes the Negro boys among,
On cotton plant, or Alabama sedge.

The blackbird lingers by the flowing brook,
Or perches proudly on the shock of corn;
The lark still hovers round its meadow nook,
And soars and sings as on a vernal morn.

The robin, too, is loth to quit the lawn
And visits yet his nest beneath the eaves;
I hear his cheering notes at early dawn–
To part with these old friends my spirit grieves.

But soon these feathered songsters must away,
Ere winter’s frosts shall chill them thro’ and thro’;
In other lands they find the summer day,
The opening flower, and the refreshing dew.

The air, tho’ chill, is not surcharged with death,
But health-inspiring germs it bears along.
We drink in vigor with our every breath,
And life appears like spring, each day a song.

God spreads a carpet for our weary feet,
Richer than those which grace the palace floor;
The rainbow hues are in it all complete,
And tints, I think, of full a thousand more.

God with His hands of wind for woof collects
The forest leaves, and weaves them with the grass,
With nap of richest hues the fabric decks,
And spreads it out for feet of every class.

A haze at times may veil the smiling sky,
The sun his golden locks exchange for gray;
But soon a western blast comes sweeping by–
The mists depart, and glory crowns the day.

The lowing cattle roam from field to field;
No more content in narrow bounds to stay;
The ozone in the autumn air has healed
Their every ill, and lo, the dull beasts play.

This season has its lesson each should learn–
The fading leaf reminds us of our doom;
But whether like the stately tree, or fern,
In hope we travel onward to the tomb.

We look not for the Winter, but the Spring,
When we shall glow in beauty from the skies;
Each now his tribute sheaf of praise should bring,
Then hear his Lord’s “Well done!” O glorious prize.

Joseph Horatio Chant

An Autumn's Work





In Glad Accord

10 08 2014

My song forever shall record
The tender mercies of the Lord;
Thy faithfulness will I proclaim,
And every age shall know Thy Name.

I sing of mercies that endure,
Forever builded firm and sure,
Of faithfulness that never dies,
Established changeless in the skies.

Behold God’s truth and grace displayed,
For He has faithful covenant made,
And He has sworn that David’s son
Shall ever sit upon his throne.

The heavens shall join in glad accord
To praise Thy wondrous works, O Lord;
Thy faithfulness shall praise command
Where holy ones assembled stand.

Who in the heavenly dwellings fair
Can with the Lord Himself compare?
Or who among the mighty shares
The likeness that Jehovah bears.

With fear and reverence at His feet
God’s holy ones in council meet;
Yea, more than all about His throne
Must He be feared, and He alone.

O Thou Jehovah, God of Hosts,
What mighty one Thy likeness boasts?
In all Thy works and vast designs
Thy faithfulness forever shines.

The swelling sea obeys Thy will,
Its angry waves Thy voice can still;
Thy mighty enemies are slain,
Thy foes resist Thy power in vain.

The heavens and earth, by right divine,
The world and all therein are Thine;
The whole creation’s wondrous frame
Proclaims its Maker’s glorious Name.

Psalm 89:1-12 (as rendered in the 1912 Psalter of the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of America)

sea and sky





From Rising Unto Setting Sun

20 07 2014

Praise God, ye servants of the Lord,
Praise, praise His Name with one accord;
Bless ye the Lord, His Name adore
From this time forth, forevermore.

From rising unto setting sun
Praised be the Lord, the Mighty One;
He reigns o’er all, supreme in might,
Above the heavens in glory bright.

On whom but God can we rely,
The Lord our God Who reigns on high,
Who condescends to see and know
The things of heaven and earth below?

He lifts the poor and makes them great,
With joy He fills the desolate;
Praise ye the Lord and bless His Name,
His mercy and His might proclaim.

Psalm 113 (as rendered in the 1912 Psalter of the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of America)

lakeview sunrise





His Holy Name Revere

24 06 2014

O give the Lord whole-hearted praise,
To Him thanksgiving I will bring;
With all His people I will raise
My voice and of His glory sing.

His saints delight to search and trace
His mighty works and wondrous ways;
Majestic glory, boundless grace
And righteousness His work displays.

The wondrous works that God has wrought
His people ever keep in mind,
His works with grace and mercy fraught,
Revealing that the Lord is kind.

God’s promise shall forever stand,
He cares for those who trust His word;
Upon His saints His mighty hand
The wealth of nations has conferred.

His works are true and just indeed,
His precepts are forever sure;
In truth and righteousness decreed
They shall for evermore endure.

From Him His saints’ redemption came;
His covenant sure no change can know;
Let all revere His holy Name
In heaven above and earth below.

In reverence and in godly fear
Man finds the gate to wisdom’s ways;
The wise His holy Name revere;
Through endless ages sound His praise.

Psalm 111 as rendered in the 1912 Psalter of the Presbyterian and Reformed churches of America )

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Praise Proclaim

6 04 2014

Praise ye the Lord, His praise proclaim,
And, O my soul, bless thou His Name;
Yea, I will sound His praise abroad
And ever bless the Lord, my God.

Trust not in man who soon must die,
But on the living God rely;
Most blest the man whose help is He
That made the heaven and earth and sea.

His truth unchanged shall ever stand,
He saves from strong oppression’s hand,
In Him the sad a helper find,
He feeds the poor and heals the blind.

Thy God shall reign for evermore,
Praise Him, O Zion, and adore;
The Lord is heaven’s eternal King,
To Him all praise and honor bring.

Adapted for the 1912 Psalter from Psalm 146.

 

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