Elizabeth Scott to her father, the dedicatory epistle to her MS volumes of hymns, dated 1740.
My much rever’d, much Lov’d Father.
To You Next to my Heavenly Parent I owe my every Power; and to your Benign Influence, and Cultivation Their Improvements; To You, therefore, after the first, and Supream Consecration to Him, Duty, Gratitude, & Filial, Affection teach me to devote their productions; and in particular These. Your Desire (ever a Law to me) directed my Thoughts into this Channel; and your kind, & candid acceptance of my poor Performances was my Continual Incouragements to proceed in this Imploy. The Sentiments in General, Except what are drawn immediately from the Sacred Scriptures are your own; or those of persons you highly value; These therefore want no Apology. And in a Dependance on your long Experienc’d Goodness to make the so much needed Allowances for what of Mine you will Discern here, I humbly lay this little Offering at your Feet.
If these feeble Attempts of an artless Muse may contribute to brighten those Gloomy Moments, which (notwithstanding the best-grounded, & most Elevated Hopes for Eternity) growing years, & Infirmities may produce, it would afford me the most sensible Delight; But might they be bless’d to my Dearest Father’s Support, & Comfort under his Afflictions, and to Aid his frequent Devout Aspirations toward the Heav’nly World, I have no Language to describe how exquisite my pleasure would then be.
When I reflect upon the Tender Indulgence you Dear Sir have exercis’d tow’rd me from my Childhood to this hour, (which has ^been^ such as the most Affectionate Assiduities of a whole Life cannot repay) my Heart glows with Gratitude; I pant to make some Su^i^table Returns; and deeply regret my limited Capacity which furnishes out only some faint Efforts tow’rd them.
But my Wishes are Unbounded; and my warmest prayers for you, are, and shall ever, be ascending to that God, whose Goodness, & Power, Eternity itself, cannot Exhaust: who, therefore, is Able to make All Grace Abound toward You; and to Bless You even far beyond what I can ask, or think; and who, as Your Covenant God: I am perswaded, may assured will do so.
Yes, my Dearest Father, He will graciously remember your fervent Zeal for His Truths, his Interests, his Honour here Below: He will Support You under every Tryal he sees Good to exercise you with in Life: He will be your Strength & Salvation in the Article of Death: He will receive you to Himself; assign a Glorious Reward of all your unwearied Services, and Labours of Love; and make you shine out in the Celestial World, among those who have turn’d many to Righteousness, as a Bright Luminary, For ever, & ever.
That, Cultivating in Heart, & Life, the warm (yet Rational) Devotion, Humility[,] Temperance, Justice, & Benevolence, which your Instructions, & Example conspire to set before me in the strongest, & most amiable Light, I may at length attain that Happy Place, and at humble distance Behold, Rejoice in, & share your Glory, Is, my Highly Esteemed Parent, the utmost Ambition of One, who hopes (till Death dissolve the tender Tie) to Approve herself
The most Dutifull
Text: Gen. MSS. 635, Beinecke Library, Yale University.