‘what thou hast been to me in the night’ James Nayler (A Psalm)

I’ve was reading a variety of quotes from early Friends in preparation for my message on Sunday and stumbled ever so timely on this one. It speaks to my current condition as something I really needed to hear:

It is in my heart to praise thee O my God, let me never forget thee, what thou hast been to me in the night, by thy presence in the day of trial, when I was beset in darkness, when I was cast out as a wandering bird, when I was assaulted with strong temptations, then thy presence in secret did preserve me, and in a low estate I felt thee near me. When the floods sought to sweep me away, thou set a compass for them how far they should pass over when my way was through the sea, and when I passed under the mountains there was thou present with me; when the weight of the hills was upon me thou upheld me, else had I sunk under the earth, when I was as one altogether helpless, when tribulation and anguish was upon me day and night, and the earth without foundation, when I went on the way of wrath and passed by the gates of hell, when all comforts stood afar off and he that is mine enemy had dominion, when I was cast into the pit and was as one appointed to death, when I was between the millstones, and as one crushed with the weight of his adversary, as a father thou was with me, and the rock of thy presence. When the mouths of lions roared against me, and fear took hold on my soul in the pit, then I called upon thee in the night, and my cries was strong before thee daily, who answered me from thy habitation and delivered me from thy dwelling place, saying, I will set thee above all thy fears, and lift up thy feet above the head of oppression. I believed and was strengthened, and thy word was salvation. Thou didst fight on my part when I wrestled with death, and when darkness would have shut me up, then thy light shone about me, and thy banner was over my head. When my work was in the furnace, and as I passed through the fire, by thee I was not consumed, though the flames ascended above my head. When I beheld the dreadful visions and was amongst the fiery spirits thy faith stayed me, else through fear I had fallen; I saw thee and believed, so the enemy could not prevail.

 

-James Nayler 1659

 

 

Published by

Wess

...is the William R. Roger Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.