>My Heart an Altar

>Bits of hymns often fill my mind. This morning it’s:

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion, filling all my frame—,
The baptism of the heaven-descended Dove;
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

After spending some time looking through the Blue Psalter Hymnal this morning, I finally did a Google search and found the hymn’s name: “Spirit of God, Dwell Thou Within My Heart.” The above words constitute the last stanza. The first four stanzas are:

Spirit of God, dwell Thou within my heart;
Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies;
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Didst Thou not bid us love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own; soul, heart, and strength, and mind.;
I see the cross—there teach my heart to cling;
O let me seek Thee and O let me find!

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear;
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

George Croly wrote those words in 1854. Some of the phrases I particularly like: “dwell within my heart…through all its pulses move; no sudden rending of the veil of clay, Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer,” but the best is the last line of the last stanza: “My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.”

Even though Reformed Christians don’t often use altar imagery, I find it beautiful. Our wholehearted desire ought to be to expend our essence as living sacrifices, fueled by God’s love to his glory.

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