Elizabeth Prentiss

American musician, hymnwriter
(Redirected from Elizabeth Payson Prentiss)

Elizabeth Payson Prentiss (26 October 1818 – 13 August 1878) was an author, well known for her hymn "More Love to Thee, O Christ" and the didactic story Stepping Heavenward (1869).

No truth can be said to be seen as it is until it is seen in its relation to all other truths. In this relation only is it true.


  • Ah, what a life is theirs who live in Christ;
    How vast the mystery!
    Reaching in height to heaven, and in its depth
    The unfathomed sea!
    • "The Mystery of Life in Christ", stanza 5, in Religious Poems‎ (New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, 1873), p. 41.
  • O happy life! life hid with Christ in God!
    So making me,
    At home, and by the wayside, and abroad,
    Alone with Thee!
    • "Alone with God", stanza 4, in Religious Poems (New York: Anson D. F. Randolph, 1873), p. 174.
  • Sleep, baby, sleep!
    Thy father's watching the sheep.
    Thy mother's shaking the dreamland tree,
    And down drops a little dream for thee.
    Sleep, baby, sleep!
    • "Cradle Song" (From the German), stanza 1, in Henry T. Coates ed., The Children's Book of Poetry (Philadelphia: Henry T. Coates & Co., 1879), p. 29.

Stepping Heavenward (1869)

Stepping Heavenward (Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, 1869)
  • You cannot prove to yourself that you love God by examining your feelings towards Him. They are indefinite and they fluctuate. But just so far as you obey Him, just so far, depend upon it, you love Him.
    • p. 28. (July 19, 1831)
  • You cannot will to possess the spirit of Christ; that must come as His gift, but you can choose to study His life, and to imitate it.
    • p. 105. (March 28, 1835)
  • We must be wise task-masters, and not require of ourselves what we can not possibly perform. Recreation we must have. Otherwise, the strings of our soul, wound up to an unnatural tension, will break.
    • p. 111. (April 13, 1835)
  • It sweetens every bit of work to think that I am doing it in humble, far-off, yet real imitation of Jesus.
    • pp. 115–116. (May 4, 1835)
  • The question is not whether you ever gave yourself to God, but whether you are His now.
    • p. 278. (January 20, 1843)
  • "Cheerfully and gratefully I lay myself and all I am or own at the feet of Him who redeemed me with His precious blood, engaging to follow Him, bearing the cross He lays upon me." This is the least I can do, and I do it while my heart lies broken and bleeding at His feet.
    • pp. 311–312. (July 12, 1845)
  • And as to carrying religion into everything, how can one help it if one's religion is a vital part of one's-self, not a cloak put on to go to church and hang up out of the way against next Sunday.
    • p. 344. (— February, 1847)
  • It is a religion of principle that God wants from us, not one of mere feeling.
    • p. 383. (May 4, 1851)
  • Not till I was shut up to prayer and to the study of God's word by the loss of earthly joys — sickness destroying the flavor of them all — did I begin to penetrate the mystery that is learned under the cross. And wondrous as it is, how simple is this mystery! To love Christ, and to know that I love Him — this is all.
    • p. 425. (June 30, 1858)

The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss (1882)

Quotes reported in George L. Prentiss, The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss (New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, 1882)
  • Much of my experience of life has cost me a great price and I wish to use it for strengthening and comforting other souls.
    • Preface, p. iii; Ch. XIV: "Work and Play", § I, p. 447.
  • I thought that prattling boys and girls
    Would fill this empty room;
    That my rich heart would gather flowers
    From childhood's opening bloom.

    One child and two green graves are mine,
    This is God's gift to me;
    A bleeding, fainting, broken heart—
    This is my gift to Thee.

    • Ch. V: "In the School of Suffering", § II, p. 138 ("My Nursery. 1852", lines written following the deaths that year of two of her first three children).
  • Some of His children must go into the furnace to testify that the Son of God is there with them.
    • Ch. VIII: "The Pastor's Wife and Daughter of Consolation", § II, p. 247.
  • I am not sure that it is best for us, once safe and secure on the Rock of Ages, to ask ourselves too closely what this and that experience may signify. Is it not better to be thinking of the Rock, not of the feet that stand upon it?
    • Ch. X: "On the Mount", § I, p. 297.
  • Lay hold on Christ with both your poor, empty hands.
    • Ch. X: "On the Mount", § IV, p. 317.
  • The longer I live the more conscious I am of human frailty, and of the constant, overwhelming need we all have of God's grace.
    • Ch. XIV: "Work and Play", § IV, p. 480.
  • No truth can be said to be seen as it is until it is seen in its relation to all other truths. In this relation only is it true.
    • Appendix D (from her diaries), p. 553.
Wikipedia has an article about: