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Hymn of the Week – Hold to God's Unchanging Hand

Audio from the annual singing at the Bellaire congregation: 
Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand

Music by F. L. Eiland
Lyrics by Jennie Wilson

Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught of earth unmoved can stand.
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand!

Trust in Him who will not leave you,
Whatsoever years may bring.
If by earthly friends forsaken,
Still more closely to Him cling!

Covet not this world’s vain riches
That so rapidly decay;
Seek to gain the heavenly treasures,
They will never pass away!

When your journey is completed,
If to God you have been true,
Fair and bright the home in glory
Your enraptured soul will view!

F. L. Eiland was a Christian songwriter of the nineteenth century who wrote many good hymns. Unfortunately, this is practically the only one still sung today.

Ailenroc’s Book

ailenrocA few years back, my sister and I were looking through some of our grandmother’s books in a back bedroom when we came across one with a curious title. The words Ailenroc’s Book grabbed our attention, and as we gingerly opened the frail green volume we soon discovered who Ailenroc was. She wrote in the short preface “I do not think I shall live to see [this book] out, but I want to bespeak for it a kind reception. Of faults it has many; but I am sure they are not of the heart, and it is a pleasure to me to think that I have written nothing that can do harm.” Ailenroc, or more properly, Cornelia Alexander, was an elderly Christian lady of Alabama. Read More

Flight of Florimell

Flight of Florimell

Like as an hind forth singled from the herd,
That hath escapéd from a ravenous beast,
Yet flies away of her own feet afeard,
And every leaf, that shaketh with the least
Murmur of wind, her terror hath increased;
So fled fair Florimell from her vain fear,
Long after she from peril was released:
Each shade she saw, and each noise she did hear,
Did seem to be the same, which she escaped whilere.

All that same evening she in flying spent,
And all that night her course continuéd:
Nor did she let dull sleep once to relent,
Nor weariness to slack her haste, but fled
Ever alike, as if her former dread
Were hard behind, her ready to arrest:
And her white palfrey having conqueréd
The mastering reins out of her weary wrest,
Perforce her carried, wherever he thought best.

—Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene: Book III, canto VII, stanzas I and II

Painting by Washington Allston, 1819: Flight of Florimell

Summer Reading Plans

One thing I didn’t do much of at college was free reading. And while I would gladly attribute this to my all-consuming studies, the truth is that one will find time for what one loves to do, and I am sure that I could have read more if I had really wanted to.

But now is the summer, and a chance for me to catch up on my reading. Following you will find the various books that I am reading at the moment.

The Geography of Thought – How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why, by Richard Nisbett.  This book is very interesting so far.  Last fall I wrote a research paper and did a presentation on the history of the linguistic relativity theory, and this reminded a friend of mine of this book, which he then allowed me to borrow.  Both this book and my research involved the idea of different world-views—not as religious mindsets, but simply different ways of perceiving and categorizing the world—and this is quite fascinating.

The Legend of Britomartis (Third Book of The Faerie Queene), by Edmund Spenser.  I have been slowly working through this great magnum opus of Spenser’s, and despite the archaic language and spelling, the poetry is quite good and I have enjoyed acquainting myself with fantasy from the time of the Renaissance.  Each book of The Faerie Queene demonstrates a certain virtue, and this particular book is on chastity.  It is interesting to note that the hero of the story is actually a heroine–something that is somewhat unexpected in a work this old.

The Children of Húrin, by J.R.R. Tolkien.  This is yet another posthumously published work of Tolkien’s, which his son has put together from his writings.  I read somewhere that about 30% of the text of this book has never before been published, while the rest may be found in The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.  I have only read a little so far, but this is evident since I have read both of these works.  The Children of Húrin contains the tragic tale of Túrin Turambar, which I highly recommend despite its less-than-happy ending.  It somewhat reminds me of Œdipus.  But even if you have already read the Narn i Chîn Húrin, you may still enjoy this volume for the fine illustrations by Alan Lee.

Hymn of the Week – Peace, Perfect Peace

Poetry by Ed­ward Bick­er­steth, Jr. (1875)
Music by George Cald­beck and Charles Vin­cent (1876)

Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
On Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.

Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesus’ keeping we are safe, and they.

Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.

Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.

It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus call us to Heaven’s perfect peace.

Peace, perfect peace, ’mid suffering’s sharpest throes?
The sympathy of Jesus breathes repose.

Cyber Hymnal entry

Today you get two for the price of one. Some time back I translated this song into Latin (and I say translated in quite a loose way, since translating a song involves taking many liberties). The tune is called “Pax Tecum,” but to my knowledge no Latin version of the hymn has existed until now.

Pax tecum, ambula cum Domino,
Et ipse diriget gressus tuos.

Pax vobiscum perfecta Domini,
In sanguine Jesu purgamini.

Satis erat, transibimus brevi,
Ita quales oportet nos esse?