Harriet B. Stowe, 1812-1896

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.
Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
Psalm 5:1-3

"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O GOD! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee." Psalm 139:17 & 18. These were the verses that inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe as she meditated on them one morning. In the midst of a busy and productive life--as a writer, an avid crusader against world-wide slavery, and a mother of six--it was Harriet Stowe's practice to rise at 4:30 each morning to "see the coming of the dawn, hear the singing of the birds, and to enjoy the over-shadowing presence of God."

As a devoted mother and the wife of a seminary professor, Harriet still found time to write numerous hymns, a volume of religious verse, and approximately 40 books dealing with the various social problems of her time. Her best known novel was Uncle Tom's Cabin, which had a strong influence against slavery before the Civil War.

In later life, as she looked back over many of the difficulties she had experienced in her own busy years of raising a family while engaging in many pursuits, Harriet wrote, "I thank God there is one thing running through all of them--from the time I was 12 years old [the age she was saved]--and that is the intense, unwavering sense of Christ's educating, guiding presence and care."

It is commonly agreed by hymnists that for sheer poetic beauty, there are few hymn texts that excel these lines.

Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.

Alone with Thee, amid the [earliest]* shadows,
The solemn hush of nature newly born;
Alone with Thee in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn.

[As in the dawning o’er the waveless ocean
Rests the clear image of the morning star
So in the stillness Thou beholdest only
Thine image in the center of my heart.]**

Still, still with Thee, as to each newborn morning,
A fresh and solemn splendor still is given,
So does this blessèd consciousness, awaking,
Breathe each day nearness unto Thee and Heaven.

When sinks the soul, subdued by toil, to slumber,
Its closing eye looks up to Thee in prayer;
Sweet the repose beneath the wings o’ershading,
But sweeter still to wake and find Thee there.

So shall it be at last, in that bright morning,
When the soul waketh and life’s shadows flee;
O in that hour, fairer than daylight dawning,
Shall rise the glorious thought, I am with Thee.

*For Today*: Job 19:25-27; Psalm 139:17 & 18; Colossians 3:4; I John 4:13

Live this day with a fresh awareness of God's beauty in His Creation and of His companionship in your life.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* originally "mystic shadows"

**As in the dawning o’er the waveless ocean
The image of the morning star doth rest,
So in the stillness Thou beholdest only
Thine image in the waters of my breast.

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