A CHILD’S HYMN FROM
‘THE WRECK OF THE GOLDEN MARY’
A CHILD’S HYMN
The Christmas number of Household Words for 1856 is especially noteworthy as containing the Hymn of five verses which Dickens contributed to the second chapter. This made a highly favourable impression, and a certain clergyman, the Rev. R. H. Davies, was induced to express to the editor of Household Words his gratitude to the author of these lines for having thus conveyed to innumerable readers such true religious sentiments. In acknowledging the receipt of the letter, Dickens observed that such a mark of approval was none the less gratifying to him because he was himself the author of the Hymn. ‘There cannot be many men, I believe,’ he added, ‘who have a more humble veneration for the New Testament, or a more profound conviction of its all-sufficiency, than I have. If I am ever (as you tell me I am) mistaken on this subject, it is because I discountenance all obtrusive professions of and tradings in religion, as one of the main causes why real Christianity has been retarded in this world; and because my observation of life induces me to hold in unspeakable dread and horror those unseemly squabbles about the letter which drive the spirit out of hundreds of thousands.’—Vide Forster’s Life of Charles Dickens, Book xi. iii.
A CHILD’S HYMN
Hear my prayer, O! Heavenly Father, Ere I lay me down to sleep; Bid Thy Angels, pure and holy, Round my bed their vigil keep. My sins are heavy, but Thy mercy Far outweighs them every one; Down before Thy Cross I cast them, Trusting in Thy help alone. Keep me through this night of peril Underneath its boundless shade; Take me to Thy rest, I pray Thee, When my pilgrimage is made. None shall measure out Thy patience By the span of human thought; None shall bound the tender mercies Which Thy Holy Son has bought. Pardon all my past transgressions, Give me strength for days to come; Guide and guard me with Thy blessing Till Thy Angels bid me home.
Edinburgh: Printed by T. and A. Constable