These letters and hymns were not written and
sung in a cloister. They are Divine breathings
rising out of the quiet stir of country life, like a
lark out of the wind-swept heather. She lived a
woman's ordinary life of a century ago. When
her mother died, she became her father's helpmate.
She was busy from morn till eve with the
daily duties of the farmstead. She had no hour
of prayer and song marked out, nor was there
any need. Her prayers accompanied this work
of her hands; her hymns were often composed in
the midst of her household tasks. She became
a 'priest unto God,' and the golden bells round
about the hem of her spirit's robe were not often silent.
If she had a deep concern for personal piety,
she was equally concerned for social religion. A
member of the Calvinistic Methodist Church at a
place called the Bont, she carried all its joys
and sorrows in her heart. When the Church was
wounded 'by the stroke of the world and of those
falling back,' her own soul was also wounded.
Her prayers breathed revivingly on the Lord's
'faded garden.' And when the Church had its
bright awakening, her joy was full. She had
heavy and rugged paths to travel from her home
to the chapel, but the darkest winter night made
no difference to her. She could sing on the way.
It was a narrow way, too, her soul had to travel,
and she met some wintry nights of doubt before
she reached the gate of the temple. But she sang
for the Light that was to come.
There's a day to journey homewards
For the children of the King;
God shall from the fields of bondage
To the throne His loved ones bring:
There shall faith to sight be changèd,
Feeble hope to perfect gain;
And the song shall grow for ever
To the Lamb which once was slain.
Pilgrim, worn with stress of tempests,
Look, and see the dawning light!
There the Lamb makes intercession,
In His flowing robes of white:
Faithfulness, His golden girdle;
Round His garment's hem, the bells;
Token of the full forgiveness
Which in His atonement dwells.
A noteworthy fact in connection with her hymns
is their preservation. A servant in her father's
house, named Ruth, possessed a remarkable
memory. To her Ann Griffiths used to recite her
hymns as they were composed; and then the two
would sing them over time after time. After the
death of the young authoress, Ruth used to repeat
these verses to her husband. He saw their worth,
and wrote them down from her dictation. To-day
they cannot be lost: they have a home in too many hearts.