‘Vessels of Mercy, Prepared unto Glory.’
(Rom. ix. 23.)
Vessels of mercy, prepared unto glory!
This is your calling and this is your joy!
This, for the new year unfolding before ye,
Tells out the terms of your blessed employ.
Vessels, it may be, all empty and broken,
Marred in the Hand of inscrutable skill;
(Love can accept the mysterious token!)
Marred but to make them more beautiful still.
Vessels, it may be, not costly or golden;
Vessels, it may be, of quantity small,
Yet by the Nail in the Sure Place upholden,
Never to shiver and never to fall.
Vessels to honour, made sacred and holy,
Meet for the use of the Master we love,
Ready for service, all simple and lowly,
Ready, one day, for the temple above.
Yes, though the vessels be fragile and earthen,
God hath commanded His glory to shine;
Treasure resplendent henceforth is our burthen,
Excellent power, not ours but Divine.
Chosen in Christ ere the dawn of Creation,
Chosen for Him, to be filled with His grace,
Chosen to carry the streams of salvation
Into each thirsty and desolate place.
Take all Thy vessels, O glorious Finer,
Purge all the dross, that each chalice may be
Pure in Thy pattern, completer, diviner,
Filled with Thy glory and shining for Thee.
-Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)