"Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" is a hymn with words taken from a prayer contained in the long poem The Brewing of Soma by American Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier. In the United Kingdom, the hymn is usually sung to the tune REPTON by C. Hubert H. Parry, a composer best known for his setting of the poem "Jerusalem" by William Blake. In the US, the prevalent tune is Rest by Frederick Charles Maker.
If sung to Parry's tune, REPTON, the last line of each stanza is repeated.
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.
In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian sea
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow Thee.
O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity
Interpreted by love!
With that deep hush subduing all
Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm!
The Brewing of Soma (from which the above hymn was taken) is the Whittier poem (1872). Soma was a sacred ritual drink in Vedic religion, going back to Proto-Indo-Iranian times (ca. 2000 BC), possibly with hallucinogenic properties.
The storyline is of Vedic priests brewing and drinking Soma in an attempt to experience divinity. It describes the whole population getting drunk on Soma. It compares this to Christians' use of "music, incense, vigils drear, And trance, to bring the skies more near, Or lift men up to heaven!" But all in vain—it is mere intoxication.
Whittier ends by describing the true method for contact with the divine, as practised by Quakers: Sober lives dedicated to doing God's will, seeking silence and selflessness in order to hear the "still, small voice" described in I Kings 19:11-13 as the authentic voice of God, rather than earthquake, wind or fire.