Francis Scott Key By the dawn's early light

On this day in 1779, Francis Scott Key is born in Maryland. He was an attorney, author, and amateur poet. Of course, we know his name primarily because he penned the poem which later became the lyrics for our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

He also penned the following praiseful poem in 1832:

Lord, With Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee

Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise thee
For the bliss Thy love bestows,
For the pardoning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it flows.
Help, O God, my weak endeavor;
This dull soul to rapture raise;
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.

Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee,
Wretched wanderer, far astray;
Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee
From the paths of death away;
Praise, with love’s devoutest feeling,
Him who saw they guilt-born fear,
And, the light of hope revealing,
Bade the blood-stained cross appear.

Lord, this bosom’s ardent feeling
Vainly would my lips express;
Low before Thy footstool kneeling,
Deign Thy supplicant’s prayer to bless;
Let Thy grace, my soul’s chief treasure,
Love’s pure flame within me raise;
And, since words can never measure,
Let my life show forth Thy praise.

Key was a Sunday school teacher at his church and also served as vice president of the American Sunday School Union. In addition, was an early supporter of the American Bible Society.

Morning and evening

Finally, what follows are a few excerpts from a letter he wrote to his children in 1812, shortly after making his will, to be read after his death:

“You have read your Bible: how God made us, what he requires of us, how Chirst died for us, how we must pray and strive to do everything right and to shun everything wrong.

Read your Bibles every morning and evening. Never forget your private prayers, both morning and evening, and throughout the day strive to think of God often and breathe a sincere supplication to Him for all things. … Do all possible good too all… everybody within your reach. … [D]o everything for God’s sake and consider yourselves always in his service.
Remember that you do not belong to yourselves. Christ has bought you, and his precious blood was your price.”

Francis Scott Key died in 1843.

Francis Scott Key By the dawn's early light

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