James Monroe Whitfield

A Hymn-

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Written For The Dedication Of The Vine Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Buffalo

God of our sires! before thy throne
Our humble offering now we bring;
Deign to accept it as thine own,
And dwell therein, Almighty King.
Around thy glorious throne above
Angels and flaming seraphs sing,
Archangels own thy boundless love,
And cherubim their tribute bring.

And every swiftly rolling sphere,
That wends its way through boundless space,
Hymns forth, in chorus loud and clear,
Its mighty Maker's power and grace.
It is not ours to bear the parts
In that celestial song of praise,
But here, oh Lord! with grateful hearts,
This earthly fane to thee we raise.

Oh, let thy presence fill this house,
And from its portals ne'er depart;
Accept, oh Lord! the humble vows
Poured forth by every contrite heart.
No sacrifice of beast or bird,
No clouds of incense here shall rise,
But in accordance with thy word,
We'll bring a holier sacrifice.

Here shall the hoary-headed sire
Invoke thy grace on bended knee,
While youth shall catch the sacred fire,
And pour its song of praise to thee.
Let childhood, too, with stammering tongue,
Here lisp thy name with reverent awe,
And high, and low, and old, and young,
Be brought t' obey thy holy law.

And when our spirits shall return
Back to the God who gave them birth,
And these frail bodies shall be borne
To mingle with their kindred earth --
Then, in that house not made with hands,
New anthems to thy praise we'll sing,
To thee, who burst our slavish bands,
Our Savior, prophet, priest and king.

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James Monroe Whitfield