Part 2 out of 5
covenant between Me and the earth. Genesis ix. 13.
Sweet Dove! the softest, steadiest plume,
In all the sunbright sky,
Brightening in ever-changeful bloom
As breezes change on high; -
Sweet Leaf! the pledge of peace and mirth,
"Long sought, and lately won,"
Blessed increase of reviving Earth,
When first it felt the Sun; -
Sweet Rainbow! pride of summer days,
High set at Heaven's command,
Though into drear and dusky haze
Thou melt on either hand; -
Dear tokens of a pardoning God,
We hail ye, one and all,
As when our fathers walked abroad,
Freed from their twelvemonth's thrall.
How joyful from the imprisoning ark
On the green earth they spring!
Not blither, after showers, the lark
Mounts up with glistening wing.
So home-bound sailors spring to shore,
Two oceans safely past;
So happy souls, when life is o'er,
Plunge in this empyreal vast.
What wins their first and fondest gaze
In all the blissful field,
And keeps it through a thousand days?
Love face to face revealed:
Love imaged in that cordial look
Our Lord in Eden bends
On souls that sin and earth forsook
In time to die His friends.
And what most welcome and serene
Dawns on the Patriarch's eye,
In all the emerging hills so green,
In all the brightening sky?
What but the gentle rainbow's gleam,
Soothing the wearied sight,
That cannot bear the solar beam,
With soft undazzling light?
Lord, if our fathers turned to Thee
With such adoring gaze,
Wondering frail man Thy light should see
Without Thy scorching blaze;
Where is our love, and where our hearts,
We who have seen Thy Son,
Have tried Thy Spirit's winning arts,
And yet we are not won?
The Son of God in radiance beamed
Too bright for us to scan,
But we may face the rays that streamed
From the mild Son of Man.
There, parted into rainbow hues,
In sweet harmonious strife
We see celestial love diffuse
Its light o'er Jesus' life.
God, by His bow, vouchsafes to write
This truth in Heaven above:
As every lovely hue is Light,
So every grace is Love.
When thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou
appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in
secret. St. Matthew vi. 17, 18.
"Yes--deep within and deeper yet
The rankling shaft of conscience hide,
Quick let the swelling eye forget
The tears that in the heart abide.
Calm be the voice, the aspect bold,
No shuddering pass o'er lip or brow,
For why should Innocence be told
The pangs that guilty spirits bow?
"The loving eye that watches thine
Close as the air that wraps thee round -
Why in thy sorrow should it pine,
Since never of thy sin it found?
And wherefore should the heathen see
What chains of darkness thee enslave,
And mocking say, 'Lo, this is he
Who owned a God that could not save'?"
Thus oft the mourner's wayward heart
Tempts him to hide his grief and die,
Too feeble for Confession's smart,
Too proud to bear a pitying eye;
How sweet, in that dark hour, to fall
On bosoms waiting to receive
Our sighs, and gently whisper all!
They love us--will not God forgive?
Else let us keep our fast within,
Till Heaven and we are quite alone,
Then let the grief, the shame, the sin,
Before the mercy-seat be thrown.
Between the porch and altar weep,
Unworthy of the holiest place,
Yet hoping near the shrine to keep
One lowly cell in sight of grace.
Nor fear lest sympathy should fail -
Hast thou not seen, in night hours drear,
When racking thoughts the heart assail,
The glimmering stars by turns appear,
And from the eternal house above
With silent news of mercy steal?
So Angels pause on tasks of love,
To look where sorrowing sinners kneel.
Or if no Angel pass that way,
He who in secret sees, perchance
May bid His own heart-warming ray
Toward thee stream with kindlier glance,
As when upon His drooping head
His Father's light was poured from Heaven,
What time, unsheltered and unfed,
Far in the wild His steps were driven.
High thoughts were with Him in that hour,
Untold, unspeakable on earth -
And who can stay the soaring power
Of spirits weaned from worldly mirth,
While far beyond the sound of praise
With upward eye they float serene,
And learn to bear their Saviour's blaze
When Judgment shall undraw the screen?
FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT.
Haste thee, escape thither: for I cannot do any thing till thou be
come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
Genesis xix. 22.
"Angel of wrath! why linger in mid-air,
While the devoted city's cry
Louder and louder swells? and canst thou spare,
Thy full-charged vial standing by?"
Thus, with stern voice, unsparing Justice pleads:
He hears her not--with softened gaze
His eye is following where sweet Mercy leads,
And till she give the sign, his fury stays.
Guided by her, along the mountain road,
Far through the twilight of the morn,
With hurried footsteps from the accursed abode
He sees the holy household borne;
Angels, or more, on either hand are nigh,
To speed them o'er the tempting plain,
Lingering in heart, and with frail sidelong eye
Seeking how near they may unharmed remain.
"Ah! wherefore gleam those upland slopes so fair?
And why, through every woodland arch,
Swells yon bright vale, as Eden rich and rare,
Where Jordan winds his stately march;
If all must be forsaken, ruined all,
If God have planted but to burn? -
Surely not yet the avenging shower will fall,
Though to my home for one last look I turn."
Thus while they waver, surely long ago
They had provoked the withering blast,
But that the merciful Avengers know
Their frailty well, and hold them fast.
"Haste, for thy life escape, nor look behind" -
Ever in thrilling sounds like these
They check the wandering eye, severely kind,
Nor let the sinner lose his soul at ease.
And when, o'erwearied with the steep ascent,
We for a nearer refuge crave,
One little spot of ground in mercy lent,
One hour of home before the grave,
Oft in His pity o'er His children weak,
His hand withdraws the penal fire,
And where we fondly cling, forbears to wreak
Full vengeance, till our hearts are weaned entire.
Thus, by the merits of one righteous man,
The Church, our Zoar, shall abide,
Till she abuse, so sore, her lengthened span,
E'en Mercy's self her face must hide.
Then, onward yet a step, thou hard-won soul;
Though in the Church thou know thy place,
The mountain farther lies--there seek thy goal,
There breathe at large, o'erpast thy dangerous race.
Sweet is the smile of home; the mutual look
When hearts are of each other sure;
Sweet all the joys that crowd the household nook,
The haunt of all affections pure;
Yet in the world e'en these abide, and we
Above the world our calling boast;
Once gain the mountain-top, and thou art free:
Till then, who rest, presume; who turn to look, are lost.
SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT
And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great
and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even
me also, O my father. Genesis xxvii. 34. (Compare Hebrew xii. 17.
He found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with
"And is there in God's world so drear a place
Where the loud bitter cry is raised in vain?
Where tears of penance come too late for grace,
As on the uprooted flower the genial rain?"
'Tis even so: the sovereign Lord of souls
Stores in the dungeon of His boundless realm
Each bolt that o'er the sinner vainly rolls,
With gathered wrath the reprobate to whelm.
Will the storm hear the sailor's piteous cry,
Taught so mistrust, too late, the tempting wave,
When all around he sees but sea and sky,
A God in anger, a self-chosen grave?
Or will the thorns, that strew intemperance' bed,
Turn with a wish to down? will late remorse
Recall the shaft the murderer's hand has sped,
Or from the guiltless bosom turn its course?
Then may the unbodied soul in safety fleet
Through the dark curtains of the world above,
Fresh from the stain of crime; nor fear to meet
The God whom here she would not learn to love;
Then is there hope for such as die unblest,
That angel wings may waft them to the shore,
Nor need the unready virgin strike her breast,
Nor wait desponding round the bridegroom's door.
But where is then the stay of contrite hearts?
Of old they leaned on Thy eternal word,
But with the sinner's fear their hope departs,
Fast linked as Thy great Name to Thee, O Lord:
That Name, by which Thy faithful oath is past,
That we should endless be, for joy or woe:-
And if the treasures of Thy wrath could waste,
Thy lovers must their promised Heaven forego.
But ask of elder days, earth's vernal hour,
When in familiar talk God's voice was heard,
When at the Patriarch's call the fiery shower
Propitious o'er the turf-built shrine appeared.
Watch by our father Isaac's pastoral door -
The birthright sold, the blessing lost and won;
Tell, Heaven has wrath that can relent no more;
The Grave, dark deeds that cannot be undone.
We barter life for pottage; sell true bliss
For wealth or power, for pleasure or renown;
Thus, Esau-like, our Father's blessing miss,
Then wash with fruitless tears our faded crown.
Our faded crown, despised and flung aside,
Shall on some brother's brow immortal bloom;
No partial hand the blessing may misguide,
No flattering fancy change our Monarch's doom:
His righteous doom, that meek true-hearted
The everlasting birthright should receive,
The softest dews drop on her from above,
The richest green her mountain garland weave:
Her brethren, mightiest, wisest, eldest-born,
Bow to her sway, and move at her behest;
Isaac's fond blessing may not fall on scorn,
Nor Balaam's curse on Love, which God hath blest.
THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT
When a strong man armed keepeth his place, his goods are in peace;
but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him,
he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth
his spoils. St. Luke xi. 21, 22.
See Lucifer like lightning fall,
Dashed from his throne of pride;
While, answering Thy victorious call,
The Saints his spoils divide;
This world of Thine, by him usurped too long,
Now opening all her stores to heal Thy servants' wrong.
So when the first-born of Thy foes
Dead in the darkness lay,
When Thy redeemed at midnight rose
And cast their bonds away,
The orphaned realm threw wide her gates, and told
Into freed Israel's lap her jewels and her gold.
And when their wondrous march was o'er,
And they had won their homes,
Where Abraham fed his flock of yore,
Among their fathers' tombs; -
A land that drinks the rain of Heaven at will,
Whose waters kiss the feet of many a vine-clad hill; -
Oft as they watched, at thoughtful eve,
A gale from bowers of balm
Sweep o'er the billowy corn, and heave
The tresses of the palm,
Just as the lingering Sun had touched with gold,
Far o'er the cedar shade, some tower of giants old;
It was a fearful joy, I ween,
To trace the Heathen's toil,
The limpid wells, the orchards green,
Left ready for the spoil,
The household stores untouched, the roses bright
Wreathed o'er the cottage walls in garlands of delight.
And now another Canaan yields
To Thine all-conquering ark: -
Fly from the "old poetic" fields,
Ye Paynim shadows dark!
Immortal Greece, dear land of glorious lays,
Lo! here the "unknown God" of thy unconscious praise.
The olive-wreath, the ivied wand,
"The sword in myrtles drest,"
Each legend of the shadowy strand
Now wakes a vision blest;
As little children lisp, and tell of Heaven,
So thoughts beyond their thought to those high Bards were given.
And these are ours: Thy partial grace
The tempting treasure lends:
These relies of a guilty race
Are forfeit to Thy friends;
What seemed an idol hymn, now breathes of Thee,
Tuned by Faith's ear to some celestial melody.
There's not a strain to Memory dear,
Nor flower in classic grove,
There's not a sweet note warbled here,
But minds us of Thy Love.
O Lord, our Lord, and spoiler of our foes,
There is no light but Thine: with Thee all beauty glows.
FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT
Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother; and
he sought where to weep, and he entered into his chamber and wept
there. Genesis xliii. 30.
There stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto
his brethren. Genesis xlv. 1.
When Nature tries her finest touch,
Weaving her vernal wreath,
Mark ye, how close she veils her round,
Not to be traced by sight or sound,
Nor soiled by ruder breath?
Who ever saw the earliest rose
First open her sweet breast?
Or, when the summer sun goes down,
The first soft star in evening's crown
Light up her gleaming crest?
Fondly we seek the dawning bloom
On features wan and fair,
The gazing eye no change can trace,
But look away a little space,
Then turn, and lo! 'tis there.
But there's a sweeter flower than e'er
Blushed on the rosy spray -
A brighter star, a richer bloom
Than e'er did western heaven illume
At close of summer day.
'Tis Love, the last best gift of Heaven;
Love gentle, holy, pure;
But tenderer than a dove's soft eye,
The searching sun, the open sky,
She never could endure.
E'en human Love will shrink from sight
Here in the coarse rude earth:
How then should rash intruding glance
Break in upon HER sacred trance
Who boasts a heavenly birth?
So still and secret is her growth,
Ever the truest heart,
Where deepest strikes her kindly root
For hope or joy, for flower or fruit,
Least knows its happy part.
God only, and good angels, look
Behind the blissful screen -
As when, triumphant o'er His woes,
The Son of God by moonlight rose,
By all but Heaven unseen:
As when the holy Maid beheld
Her risen Son and Lord:
Thought has not colours half so fair
That she to paint that hour may dare,
In silence best adored.
The gracious Dove, that brought from Heaven
The earnest of our bliss,
Of many a chosen witness telling,
On many a happy vision dwelling,
Sings not a note of this.
So, truest image of the Christ,
Old Israel's long-lost son,
What time, with sweet forgiving cheer,
He called his conscious brethren near,
Would weep with them alone.
He could not trust his melting soul
But in his Maker's sight -
Then why should gentle hearts and true
Bare to the rude world's withering view
Their treasure of delight!
No--let the dainty rose awhile
Her bashful fragrance hide -
Rend not her silken veil too soon,
But leave her, in her own soft noon,
To flourish and abide.
FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT
And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight,
why the bush is not burnt. Exodus iii. 3.
The historic Muse, from age to age,
Through many a waste heart-sickening page
Hath traced the works of Man:
But a celestial call to-day
Stays her, like Moses, on her way,
The works of God to scan.
Far seen across the sandy wild,
Where, like a solitary child,
He thoughtless roamed and free,
One towering thorn was wrapt in flame -
Bright without blaze it went and came:
Who would not turn and see?
Along the mountain ledges green
The scattered sheep at will may glean
The Desert's spicy stores:
The while, with undivided heart,
The shepherd talks with God apart,
And, as he talks, adores.
Ye too, who tend Christ's wildering flock,
Well may ye gather round the rock
That once was Sion's hill:
To watch the fire upon the mount
Still blazing, like the solar fount,
Yet unconsuming still.
Caught from that blaze by wrath Divine,
Lost branches of the once-loved vine,
Now withered, spent, and sere,
See Israel's sons, like glowing brands,
Tossed wildly o'er a thousand lands
For twice a thousand year.
God will not quench nor slay them quite,
But lifts them like a beacon-light
The apostate Church to scare;
Or like pale ghosts that darkling roam,
Hovering around their ancient home,
But find no refuge there.
Ye blessed Angels! if of you
There be, who love the ways to view
Of Kings and Kingdoms here;
(And sure, 'tis worth an Angel's gaze,
To see, throughout that dreary maze,
God teaching love and fear:)
Oh say, in all the bleak expanse
Is there a spot to win your glance,
So bright, so dark as this?
A hopeless faith, a homeless race,
Yet seeking the most holy place,
And owning the true bliss!
Salted with fire they seem, to show
How spirits lost in endless woe
May undecaying live.
Oh, sickening thought! yet hold it fast
Long as this glittering world shall last,
Or sin at heart survive.
And hark! amid the flashing fire,
Mingling with tones of fear and ire,
Soft Mercy's undersong -
'Tis Abraham's God who speaks so loud,
His people's cries have pierced the cloud,
He sees, He sees their wrong;
He is come down to break their chain;
Though nevermore on Sion's fane
His visible ensign wave;
'Tis Sion, wheresoe'er they dwell,
Who, with His own true Israel,
Shall own Him strong to save.
He shall redeem them one by one,
Where'er the world-encircling sun
Shall see them meekly kneel:
All that He asks on Israel's part,
Is only that the captive heart
Its woe and burthen feel.
Gentiles! with fixed yet awful eye
Turn ye this page of mystery,
Nor slight the warning sound:
"Put off thy shoes from off thy feet -
The place where man his God shall meet,
Be sure, is holy ground."
And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these
should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. St.
Luke xix. 40.
Ye whose hearts are beating high
With the pulse of Poesy,
Heirs of more than royal race,
Framed by Heaven's peculiar grace,
God's own work to do on earth,
(If the word be not too bold,)
Giving virtue a new birth,
And a life that ne'er grows old -
Sovereign masters of all hearts!
Know ye, who hath set your parts?
He who gave you breath to sing,
By whose strength ye sweep the string,
He hath chosen you, to lead
His Hosannas here below; -
Mount, and claim your glorious meed;
Linger not with sin and woe.
But if ye should hold your peace,
Deem not that the song would cease -
Angels round His glory-throne,
Stars, His guiding hand that own,
Flowers, that grow beneath our feet,
Stones in earth's dark womb that rest,
High and low in choir shall meet,
Ere His Name shall be unblest.
Lord, by every minstrel tongue
Be Thy praise so duly sung,
That Thine angels' harps may ne'er
Fail to find fit echoing here:
We the while, of meaner birth,
Who in that divinest spell
Dare not hope to join on earth,
Give us grace to listen well.
But should thankless silence seal
Lips that might half Heaven reveal,
Should bards in idol-hymns profane
The sacred soul-enthralling strain,
(As in this bad world below
Noblest things find vilest using,)
Then, Thy power and mercy show,
In vile things noble breath infusing;
Then waken into sound divine
The very pavement of Thy shrine,
Till we, like Heaven's star-sprinkled floor,
Faintly give back what we adore:
Childlike though the voices be,
And untunable the parts,
Thou wilt own the minstrelsy
If it flow from childlike hearts.
MONDAY BEFORE EASTER
Doubtless Thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us,
and Israel acknowledge us not. Isaiah lxiii. 16.
"Father to me thou art and mother dear,
And brother too, kind husband of my heart -
So speaks Andromache in boding fear,
Ere from her last embrace her hero part -
So evermore, by Faith's undying glow,
We own the Crucified in weal or woe.
Strange to our ears the church-bells of our home,
This fragrance of our old paternal fields
May be forgotten; and the time may come
When the babe's kiss no sense of pleasure yields
E'en to the doting mother: but Thine own
Thou never canst forget, nor leave alone.
There are who sigh that no fond heart is theirs,
None loves them best--O vain and selfish sigh!
Out of the bosom of His love He spares -
The Father spares the Son, for thee to die:
For thee He died--for thee He lives again:
O'er thee He watches in His boundless reign.
Thou art as much His care, as if beside
Nor man nor angel lived in Heaven or earth:
Thus sunbeams pour alike their glorious tide
To light up worlds, or wake an insect's mirth:
They shine and shine with unexhausted store -
Thou art thy Saviour's darling--seek no more.
On thee and thine, thy warfare and thine end,
E'en in His hour of agony He thought,
When, ere the final pang His soul should rend,
The ransomed spirits one by one were brought
To His mind's eye--two silent nights and days
In calmness for His far-seen hour He stays.
Ye vaulted cells, where martyred seers of old
Far in the rocky walls of Sion sleep,
Green terraces and arched fountains cold,
Where lies the cypress shade so still and deep,
Dear sacred haunts of glory and of woe,
Help us, one hour, to trace His musings high and low:
One heart-ennobling hour! It may not be:
The unearthly thoughts have passed from earth away,
And fast as evening sunbeams from the sea
Thy footsteps all in Sion's deep decay
Were blotted from the holy ground: yet dear
Is every stone of hers; for Thou want surely here.
There is a spot within this sacred dale
That felt Thee kneeling--touched Thy prostrate brow:
One Angel knows it. O might prayer avail
To win that knowledge! sure each holy vow
Less quickly from the unstable soul would fade,
Offered where Christ in agony was laid.
Might tear of ours once mingle with the blood
That from His aching brow by moonlight fell,
Over the mournful joy our thoughts would brood,
Till they had framed within a guardian spell
To chase repining fancies, as they rise,
Like birds of evil wing, to mar our sacrifice.
So dreams the heart self-flattering, fondly dreams; -
Else wherefore, when the bitter waves o'erflow,
Miss we the light, Gethsemane, that streams
From thy dear name, where in His page of woe
It shines, a pale kind star in winter's sky?
Who vainly reads it there, in vain had seen Him die.
TUESDAY BEFORE EASTER
They gave Him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but He received in
not. St. Mark xv. 23.
"Fill high the bowl, and spice it well, and pour
The dews oblivious: for the Cross is sharp,
The Cross is sharp, and He
Is tenderer than a lamb.
"He wept by Lazarus' grave--how will He bear
This bed of anguish? and His pale weak form
Is worn with many a watch
Of sorrow and unrest.
"His sweat last night was as great drops of blood,
And the sad burthen pressed Him so to earth,
The very torturers paused
To help Him on His way.
"Fill high the bowl, benumb His aching sense
With medicined sleep."--O awful in Thy woe!
The parching thirst of death
Is on Thee, and Thou triest
The slumb'rous potion bland, and wilt not drink:
Not sullen, nor in scorn, like haughty man
With suicidal hand
Putting his solace by:
But as at first Thine all-pervading look
Saw from Thy Father's bosom to the abyss
Measuring in calm presage
The infinite descent;
So to the end, though now of mortal pangs
Made heir, and emptied of Thy glory, awhile,
With unaverted eye
Thou meetest all the storm.
Thou wilt feel all, that Thou mayst pity all;
And rather wouldst Thou wreathe with strong pain,
Than overcloud Thy soul,
So clear in agony,
Or lose one glimpse of Heaven before the time
O most entire and perfect sacrifice,
Renewed in every pulse
That on the tedious Cross
Told the long hours of death, as, one by one,
The life-strings of that tender heart gave way;
E'en sinners, taught by Thee,
Look Sorrow in the face,
And bid her freely welcome, unbeguiled
By false kind solaces, and spells of earth:-
And yet not all unsoothed;
For when was Joy so dear,
As the deep calm that breathed, "Father, forgive,"
Or, "Be with Me in Paradise to-day?"
And, though the strife be sore,
Yet in His parting breath
Love masters Agony; the soul that seemed
Forsaken, feels her present God again,
And in her Father's arms
Contented dies away.
WEDNESDAY BEFORE EASTER
Saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me;
nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done. St. Luke xxii. 42.
O Lord my God, do thou Thy holy will -
I will lie still -
I will not stir, lest I forsake Thine arm,
And break the charm
Which lulls me, clinging to my Father's breast,
In perfect rest.
Wild fancy, peace! thou must not me beguile
With thy false smile:
I know thy flatteries and thy cheating ways;
Be silent, Praise,
Blind guide with siren voice, and blinding all
That hear thy call.
Come, Self-devotion, high and pure,
Thoughts that in thankfulness endure,
Though dearest hopes are faithless found,
And dearest hearts are bursting round.
Come, Resignation, spirit meek,
And let me kiss thy placid cheek,
And read in thy pale eye serene
Their blessing, who by faith can wean
Their hearts from sense, and learn to love
God only, and the joys above.
They say, who know the life divine,
And upward gaze with eagle eyne,
That by each golden crown on high,
Rich with celestial jewelry,
Which for our Lord's redeemed is set,
There hangs a radiant coronet,
All gemmed with pure and living light,
Too dazzling for a sinner's sight,
Prepared for virgin souls, and them
Who seek the martyr's diadem.
Nor deem, who to that bliss aspire,
Must win their way through blood and fire.
The writhings of a wounded heart
Are fiercer than a foeman's dart.
Oft in Life's stillest shade reclining,
In Desolation unrepining,
Without a hope on earth to find
A mirror in an answering mind,
Meek souls there are, who little dream
Their daily strife an Angel's theme,
Or that the rod they take so calm
Shall prove in Heaven a martyr's palm.
And there are souls that seem to dwell
Above this earth--so rich a spell
Floats round their steps, where'er they move,
From hopes fulfilled and mutual love.
Such, if on high their thoughts are set,
Nor in the stream the source forget,
If prompt to quit the bliss they know,
Following the Lamb where'er He go,
By purest pleasures unbeguiled
To idolise or wife or child;
Such wedded souls our God shall own
For faultless virgins round His throne.
Thus everywhere we find our suffering God,
And where He trod
May set our steps: the Cross on Calvary
Beams on the martyr host, a beacon light
In open fight.
To the still wrestlings of the lonely heart
He doth impart
The virtue of his midnight agony,
When none was nigh,
Save God and one good angel, to assuage
The tempest's rage.
Mortal! if life smile on thee, and thou find
All to thy mind,
Think, who did once from Heaven to Hell descend,
Thee to befriend:
So shalt thou dare forego, at His dear call,
Thy best, thine all.
"O Father! not My will, but Thine be done" -
So spake the Son.
Be this our charm, mellowing Earth's ruder noise
Of griefs and joys:
That we may cling for ever to Thy breast
In perfect rest!
THURSDAY BEFORE EASTER
As the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth,
and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved:
therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Daniel
"O Holy mountain of my God,
How do thy towers in ruin lie,
How art thou riven and strewn abroad,
Under the rude and wasteful sky!"
'Twas thus upon his fasting-day
The "Man of Loves" was fain to pray,
His lattice open toward his darling west,
Mourning the ruined home he still must love the best.
Oh! for a love like Daniel's now,
To wing to Heaven but one strong prayer
For GOD'S new Israel, sunk as low,
Yet flourishing to sight as fair,
As Sion in her height of pride,
With queens for handmaids at her side,
With kings her nursing-fathers, throned high,
And compassed with the world's too tempting blazonry.
'Tis true, nor winter stays thy growth,
Nor torrid summer's sickly smile;
The flashing billows of the south
Break not upon so lone an isle,
But thou, rich vine, art grafted there,
The fruit of death or life to bear,
Yielding a surer witness every day,
To thine Almighty Author and His steadfast sway.
Oh! grief to think, that grapes of gall
Should cluster round thine healthiest shoot!
God's herald prove a heartless thrall,
Who, if he dared, would fain be mute!
E'en such is this bad world we see,
Which self-condemned in owning Thee,
Yet dares not open farewell of Thee take,
For very pride, and her high-boasted Reason's sake.
What do we then? if far and wide
Men kneel to CHRIST, the pure and meek,
Yet rage with passion, swell with pride,
Have we not still our faith to seek?
Nay--but in steadfast humbleness
Kneel on to Him, who loves to bless
The prayer that waits for him; and trembling strive
To keep the lingering flame in thine own breast alive.
Dark frowned the future e'en on him,
The loving and beloved Seer,
What time he saw, through shadows dim,
The boundary of th' eternal year;
He only of the sons of men
Named to be heir of glory then.
Else had it bruised too sore his tender heart
To see GOD'S ransomed world in wrath and flame depart
Then look no more: or closer watch
Thy course in Earth's bewildering ways,
For every glimpse thine eye can catch
Of what shall be in those dread days:
So when th' Archangel's word is spoken,
And Death's deep trance for ever broken,
In mercy thou mayst feel the heavenly hand,
And in thy lot unharmed before thy Savour stand.
He is despised and rejected of men. Isaiah liii. 3.
Is it not strange, the darkest hour
That ever dawned on sinful earth
Should touch the heart with softer power
For comfort than an angel's mirth?
That to the Cross the mourner's eye should turn
Sooner than where the stars of Christmas burn?
Sooner than where the Easter sun
Shines glorious on yon open grave,
And to and fro the tidings run,
"Who died to heal, is risen to save?"
Sooner than where upon the Saviour's friends
The very Comforter in light and love descends?
Yet so it is: for duly there
The bitter herbs of earth are set,
Till tempered by the Saviour's prayer,
And with the Saviour's life-blood wet,
They turn to sweetness, and drop holy balm,
Soft as imprisoned martyr's deathbed calm.
All turn to sweet--but most of all
That bitterest to the lip of pride,
When hopes presumptuous fade and fall,
Or Friendship scorns us, duly tried,
Or Love, the flower that closes up for fear
When rude and selfish spirits breathe too near.
Then like a long-forgotten strain
Comes sweeping o'er the heart forlorn
What sunshine hours had taught in vain
Of JESUS suffering shame and scorn,
As in all lowly hearts he suffers still,
While we triumphant ride and have the world at will.
His pierced hands in vain would hide
His face from rude reproachful gaze,
His ears are open to abide
The wildest storm the tongue can raise,
He who with one rough word, some early day,
Their idol world and them shall sweep for aye away.
But we by Fancy may assuage
The festering sore by Fancy made,
Down in some lonely hermitage
Like wounded pilgrims safely laid,
Where gentlest breezes whisper souls distressed,
That Love yet lives, and Patience shall find rest.
O! shame beyond the bitterest thought
That evil spirit ever framed,
That sinners know what Jesus wrought,
Yet feel their haughty hearts untamed -
That souls in refuge, holding by the Cross,
Should wince and fret at this world's little loss.
Lord of my heart, by Thy last cry,
Let not Thy blood on earth be spent -
Lo, at Thy feet I fainting lie,
Mine eyes upon Thy wounds are bent,
Upon Thy streaming wounds my weary eyes
Wait like the parched earth on April skies.
Wash me, and dry these bitter tears,
O let my heart no further roam,
'Tis Thine by vows, and hopes, and fears.
Long since--O call Thy wanderer home;
To that dear home, safe in Thy wounded side,
Where only broken hearts their sin and shame may hide.
As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth
thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Zechariah ix.
At length the worst is o'er, and Thou art laid
Deep in Thy darksome bed;
All still and cold beneath yon dreary stone
Thy sacred form is gone;
Around those lips where power and mercy hung,
The dews of deaths have clung;
The dull earth o'er Thee, and Thy foes around,
Thou sleep'st a silent corse, in funeral fetters wound.
Sleep'st Thou indeed? or is Thy spirit fled,
At large among the dead?
Whether in Eden bowers Thy welcome voice
Wake Abraham to rejoice,
Or in some drearier scene Thine eye controls
The thronging band of souls;
That, as Thy blood won earth, Thine agony
Might set the shadowy realm from sin and sorrow free.
Where'er Thou roam'st, one happy soul, we know,
Seen at Thy side in woe,
Waits on Thy triumphs--even as all the blest
With him and Thee shall rest.
Each on his cross; by Thee we hang a while,
Watching Thy patient smile,
Till we have learned to say, "'Tis justly done,
Only in glory, LORD, Thy sinful servant own."
Soon wilt Thou take us to Thy tranquil bower
To rest one little hour,
Till Thine elect are numbered, and the grave
Call Thee to come and save:
Then on Thy bosom borne shall we descend
Again with earth to blend,
Earth all refined with bright supernal fires,
Tinctured with holy blood, and winged with pure desires.
Meanwhile with every son and saint of Thine
Along the glorious line,
Sitting by turns beneath Thy sacred feet
We'll hold communion sweet,
Know them by look and voice, and thank them all
For helping us in thrall,
For words of hope, and bright examples given
To show through moonless skies that there is light in Heaven.
O come that day, when in this restless heart
Earth shall resign her part,
When in the grave with Thee my limbs shall rest,
My soul with Thee be blest!
But stay, presumptuous--CHRIST with Thee abides
In the rock's dreary sides:
He from this stone will wring Celestial dew
If but this prisoner's heart he faithful found and true.
When tears are spent, and then art left alone
With ghosts of blessings gone,
Think thou art taken from the cross, and laid
In JESUS' burial shade;
Take Moses' rod, the rod of prayer, and call
Out of the rocky wall
The fount of holy blood; and lift on high
Thy grovelling soul that feels so desolate and dry.
Prisoner of Hope thou art--look up and sing
In hope of promised spring.
As in the pit his father's darling lay
Beside the desert way,
And knew not how, but knew his GOD would save
E'en from that living grave,
So, buried with our LORD, we'll chose our eyes
To the decaying world, till Angels bid us rise.
And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth,
they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is
not here, but is risen. St. Luke xxiv. 5, 6.
Oh! day of days! shall hearts set free
No "minstrel rapture" find for thee?
Thou art this Sun of other days,
They shine by giving back thy rays:
Enthroned in thy sovereign sphere,
Thou shedd'st thy light on all the year;
Sundays by thee more glorious break,
An Easter Day in every week:
And week days, following in their train,
The fulness of thy blessing gain,
Till all, both resting soil employ,
Be one Lord's day of holy joy.
Then wake, my soul, to high desires,
And earlier light thine altar fires:
The World some hours is on her way,
Nor thinks on thee, thou blessed day:
Or, if she think, it is in scorn:
The vernal light of Easter morn
To her dark gaze no brighter seems
Than Reason's or the Law's pale beams.
"Where is your Lord?" she scornful asks:
"Where is His hire? we know his tasks;
Sons of a King ye boast to be:
Let us your crowns and treasures see."
We in the words of Truth reply,
(An angel brought them from this sky,)
"Our crown, our treasure is not here,
'Tis stored above the highest sphere:
"Methinks your wisdom guides amiss,
To seek on earth a Christian's bliss;
We watch not now the lifeless stone;
Our only Lord is risen and gone."
Yet e'en the lifeless stone is dear
For thoughts of Him who late lay here;
And the base world, now Christ hath died,
Ennobled is and glorified.
No more a charnel-house, to fence
The relics of lost innocence,
A vault of ruin and decay;
Th' imprisoning stone is rolled away:
'Tis now a cell, where angels use
To come and go with heavenly news,
And in the ears of mourners say,
"Come, see the place where Jesus lay:"
'Tis now a fane, where Love can find
Christ everywhere embalmed and shined:
Aye gathering up memorials sweet,
Where'er she sets her duteous feet.
Oh! joy to Mary first allowed,
When roused from weeping o'er His shroud,
By His own calm, soul-soothing tone,
Breathing her name, as still His own!
Joy to the faithful Three renewed,
As their glad errand they pursued!
Happy, who so Christ's word convey,
That he may meet them on their way!
So is it still: to holy tears,
In lonely hours, Christ risen appears:
In social hours, who Christ would see
Must turn all tasks to Charity.
MONDAY IN EASTER WEEK
Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in
every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is
accepted with Him. Acts x. 34, 35.
Go up and watch the new-born rill
Just trickling from its mossy bed,
Streaking the heath-clad hill
With a bright emerald thread.
Canst thou her bold career foretell,
What rocks she shall o'erleap or rend,
How far in Ocean's swell
Her freshening billows send?
Perchance that little brook shall flow
The bulwark of some mighty realm,
Bear navies to and fro
With monarchs at their helm.
Or canst thou guess, how far away
Some sister nymph, beside her urn
Reclining night and day,
'Mid reeds and mountain fern,
Nurses her store, with thine to blend
When many a moor and glen are past,
Then in the wide sea end
Their spotless lives at last?
E'en so, the course of prayer who knows?
It springs in silence where it will,
Springs out of sight, and flows
At first a lonely rill:
But streams shall meet it by and by
From thousand sympathetic hearts,
Together swelling high
Their chant of many parts.
Unheard by all but angel ears
The good Cornelius knelt alone,
Nor dreamed his prayers and tears
Would help a world undone.
The while upon his terraced roof
The loved Apostle to his Lord
In silent thought aloof
For heavenly vision soared.
Far o'er the glowing western main
His wistful brow was upward raised,
Where, like an angel's train,
The burnished water blazed.
The saint beside the ocean prayed,
This soldier in his chosen bower,
Where all his eye surveyed
Seemed sacred in that hour.
To each unknown his brother's prayer,
Yet brethren true in dearest love
Were they--and now they share
Fraternal joys above.
There daily through Christ's open gate
They see the Gentile spirits press,
Brightening their high estate
With dearer happiness.
What civic wreath for comrades saved
Shone ever with such deathless gleam,
Or when did perils braved
So sweet to veterans seem?
TUESDAY IN EASTER WEEK
And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great
joy, and did run to bring His disciples word. St. Matthew xxviii.
TO THE SNOWDROP.
Thou first-born of the year's delight,
Pride of the dewy glade,
In vernal green and virgin white,
Thy vestal robes, arrayed:
'Tis not because thy drooping form
Sinks graceful on its nest,
When chilly shades from gathering storm
Affright thy tender breast;
Nor for yon river islet wild
Beneath the willow spray,
Where, like the ringlets of a child,
Thou weav'st thy circle gay;
'Tis not for these I love thee dear -
Thy shy averted smiles
To Fancy bode a joyous year,
One of Life's fairy isles.
They twinkle to the wintry moon,
And cheer th' ungenial day,
And tell us, all will glisten soon
As green and bright as they.
Is there a heart that loves the spring,
Their witness can refuse?
Yet mortals doubt, when angels bring
From Heaven their Easter news:
When holy maids and matrons speak
Of Christ's forsaken bed,
And voices, that forbid to seek
The hiving 'mid the dead,
And when they say, "Turn, wandering heart,
Thy Lord is ris'n indeed,
Let Pleasure go, put Care apart,
And to His presence speed;"
We smile in scorn: and yet we know
They early sought the tomb,
Their hearts, that now so freshly glow,
Lost in desponding gloom.
They who have sought, nor hope to find,
Wear not so bright a glance:
They, who have won their earthly mind,
Lees reverently advance.
But where in gentle spirits, fear
And joy so duly meet,
These sure have seen the angels near,
And kissed the Saviour's feet.
Nor let the Pastor's thankful eye
Their faltering tale disdain,
As on their lowly couch they lie,
Prisoners of want and pain.
O guide us, when our faithless hearts
From Thee would start aloof,
Where Patience her sweet skill imparts
Beneath some cottage roof:
Revive our dying fires, to burn
High as her anthems soar,
And of our scholars let us learn
Our own forgotten lore.
FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath
separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to
Himself? Numbers xvi. 9.
First Father of the holy seed,
If yet, invoked in hour of need,
Thou count me for Thine own
Not quite an outcast if I prove,
(Thou joy'st in miracles of love),
Hear, from Thy mercy-throne!
Upon Thine altar's horn of gold
Help me to lay my trembling hold,
Though stained with Christian gore; -
The blood of souls by Thee redeemed,
But, while I roved or idly dreamed,
Lost to be found no more.
For oft, when summer leaves were bright,
And every flower was bathed in light,
In sunshine moments past,
My wilful heart would burst away
From where the holy shadow lay,
Where heaven my lot had cast.
I thought it scorn with Thee to dwell,
A Hermit in a silent cell,
While, gaily sweeping by,
Wild Fancy blew his bugle strain,
And marshalled all his gallant train
In the world's wondering eye.
I would have joined him--but as oft
Thy whispered warnings, kind and soft,
My better soul confessed.
"My servant, let the world alone -
Safe on the steps of Jesus' throne
Be tranquil and be blest."
"Seems it to thee a niggard hand
That nearest Heaven has bade thee stand,
The ark to touch and bear,
With incense of pure heart's desire
To heap the censer's sacred fire,
The snow-white Ephod wear?"
Why should we crave the worldling's wreath,
On whom the Savour deigned to breathe,
To whom His keys were given,
Who lead the choir where angels meet,
With angels' food our brethren greet,
And pour the drink of Heaven?
When sorrow all our heart would ask,
We need not shun our daily task,
And hide ourselves for calm;
The herbs we seek to heal our woe
Familiar by our pathway grow,
Our common air is balm.
Around each pure domestic shrine
Bright flowers of Eden bloom and twine,
Our hearths are altars all;
The prayers of hungry souls and poor,
Like armed angels at the door,
Our unseen foes appal.
Alms all around and hymns within -
What evil eye can entrance win
Where guards like these abound?
If chance some heedless heart should roam,
Sure, thought of these will lure it home
Ere lost in Folly's round.
O joys, that sweetest in decay,
Fall not, like withered leaves, away,
But with the silent breath
Of violets drooping one by one,
Soon as their fragrant task is done,
Are wafted high in death!
SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge
of the Most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling
into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see Him, but not
now; I shall behold Him, but not nigh; there shall come a Star out
at Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite
the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children at Sheth.
Numbers xxiv. 16, 17.
O for a sculptor's hand,
That thou might'st take thy stand,
Thy wild hair floating on the eastern breeze,
Thy tranced yet open gaze
Fixed on the desert haze,
As one who deep in heaven some airy pageant sees.
In outline dim and vast
Their fearful shadows cast
This giant forms of empires on their way
To ruin: one by one
They tower and they are gone,
Yet in the Prophet's soul the dreams of avarice stay.
No sun or star so bright
In all the world of light
That they should draw to Heaven his downward eye:
He hears th' Almighty's word,
He sees the angel's sword,
Yet low upon the earth his heart and treasure lie.
Lo! from you argent field,
To him and us revealed,
One gentle Star glides down, on earth to dwell.
Chained as they are below
Our eyes may see it glow,
And as it mounts again, may track its brightness well.
To him it glared afar,
A token of wild war,
The banner of his Lord's victorious wrath:
But close to us it gleams,
Its soothing lustre streams
Around our home's green walls, and on our church-way path.
We in the tents abide
Which he at distance eyed
Like goodly cedars by the waters spread,
While seven red altar-fires
Rose up in wavy spires,
Where on the mount he watched his sorceries dark and dread.
He watched till morning's ray
On lake and meadow lay,
And willow-shaded streams that silent sweep
Around the bannered lines,
Where by their several signs
The desert-wearied tribes in sight of Canaan sleep.
He watched till knowledge came
Upon his soul like flame,
Not of those magic fires at random caught:
But true Prophetic light
Flashed o'er him, high and bright,
Flashed once, and died away, and left his darkened thought.
And can he choose but fear,
Who feels his GOD so near,
That when he fain would curse, his powerless tongue
In blessing only moves? -
Alas! the world he loves
Too close around his heart her tangling veil hath flung.
Sceptre and Star divine,
Who in Thine inmost shrine
Hash made us worshippers, O claim Thine own;
More than Thy seers we know -
O teach our love to grow
Up to Thy heavenly light, and reap what Thou hast sown.
THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is
come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth
no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.
St. John xvi. 21.
Well may I guess and feel
Why Autumn should be sad;
But vernal airs should sorrow heal,
Spring should be gay and glad:
Yet as along this violet bank I rove,
The languid sweetness seems to choke my breath,
I sit me down beside the hazel grove,
And sigh, and half could wish my weariness were death.
Like a bright veering cloud
Grey blossoms twinkle there,
Warbles around a busy crowd
Of larks in purest air.
Shame on the heart that dreams of blessings gone,
Or wakes the spectral forms of woe and crime,
When nature sings of joy and hope alone,
Reading her cheerful lesson in her own sweet time.
Nor let the proud heart say,
In her self-torturing hour,
The travail pangs must have their way,
The aching brow must lower.
To us long since the glorious Child is born
Our throes should be forgot, or only seem
Like a sad vision told for joy at morn,
For joy that we have waked and found it but a dream.
Mysterious to all thought
A mother's prime of bliss,
When to her eager lips is brought
Her infant's thrilling kiss.
O never shall it set, the sacred light
Which dawns that moment on her tender gaze,
In the eternal distance blending bright
Her darling's hope and hers, for love and joy and praise.
No need for her to weep
Like Thracian wives of yore,
Save when in rapture still and deep
Her thankful heart runs o'er.
They mourned to trust their treasure on the main,
Sure of the storm, unknowing of their guide:
Welcome to her the peril and the pain,
For well she knows the bonus where they may safely hide.
She joys that one is born
Into a world forgiven,
Her Father's household to adorn,
And dwell with her in Heaven.
So have I seen, in Spring's bewitching hour,
When the glad Earth is offering all her best,
Some gentle maid bend o'er a cherished flower,
And wish it worthier on a Parent's heart to rest.
FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I
go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto
you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. St. John xvi 7.
My Saviour, can it ever be
That I should gain by losing Thee?
The watchful mother tarries nigh,
Though sleep have closed her infant's eye;
For should he wake, and find her gone.
She knows she could not bear his moan.
But I am weaker than a child,
And Thou art more than mother dear;
Without Thee Heaven were but a wild;
How can I live without Thee here!
"'Tis good for you, that I should go,
"You lingering yet awhile below;" -
'Tis Thine own gracious promise, Lord!
Thy saints have proved the faithful word,
When heaven's bright boundless avenue
Far opened on their eager view,
And homeward to Thy Father's throne,
Still lessening, brightening on their sight,
Thy shadowy car went soaring on;
They tracked Thee up th' abyss of light.
Thou bidd'st rejoice; they dare not mourn,
But to their home in gladness turn,
Their home and God's, that favoured place,
Where still He shines on Abraham's race,
In prayers and blessings there to wait
Like suppliants at their Monarch's gate,
Who bent with bounty rare to aid
The splendours of His crowning day,
Keeps back awhile His largess, made
More welcome for that brief delay:
In doubt they wait, but not unblest;
They doubt not of their Master's rest,
Nor of the gracious will of Heaven -
Who gave His Son, sure all has given -
But in ecstatic awe they muse
What course the genial stream may choose,
And far and wide their fancies rove,
And to their height of wonder strain,
What secret miracle of love
Should make their Saviour's going gain.
The days of hope and prayer are past,
The day of comfort dawns at last,
The everlasting gates again
Roll back, and, lo! a royal train -
From the far depth of light once more
The floods of glory earthward pour:
They part like shower-drops in mid air,
But ne'er so soft fell noon-tide shower,
Nor evening rainbow gleamed so fair
To weary swains in parched bower.
Swiftly and straight each tongue of flame
Through cloud and breeze unwavering came,
And darted to its place of rest
On some meek brow of Jesus blest.
Nor fades it yet, that living gleam,
And still those lambent lightnings stream;
Where'er the Lord is, there are they;
In every heart that gives them room,
They light His altar every day,
Zeal to inflame, and vice consume.
Soft as the plumes of Jesus' Dove
They nurse the soul to heavenly love;
The struggling spark of good within,
Just smothered in the strife of sin,
They quicken to a timely glow,
The pure flame spreading high and low.
Said I, that prayer and hope were o'er?
Nay, blessed Spirit! but by Thee
The Church's prayer finds wings to soar,
The Church's hope finds eyes to see.
Then, fainting soul, arise and sing;
Mount, but be sober on the wing;
Mount up, for Heaven is won by prayer,
Be sober, for thou art not there;
Till Death the weary spirit free,
Thy God hath said, 'Tis good for thee
To walk by faith and not by sight:
Take it on trust a little while;
Soon shalt thou read the mystery right
In the full sunshine of His smile.
Or if thou yet more knowledge crave,
Ask thine own heart, that willing slave
To all that works thee woe or harm
Shouldst thou not need some mighty charm
To win thee to thy Saviour's side,
Though He had deigned with thee to bide?
The Spirit must stir the darkling deep,
The Dove must settle on the Cross,
Else we should all sin on or sleep
With Christ in sight, turning our gain to loss.
FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER--ROGATION SUNDAY
And the Lord was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and
I prayed for Aaron also the same time. Deuteronomy ix. 20.
Now is there solemn pause in earth and heaven;
The Conqueror now
His bonds hath riven,
And Angels wonder why He stays below:
Yet hath not man his lesson learned,
How endless love should be returned.
Deep is the silence as of summer noon,
When a soft shower
Will trickle soon,
A gracious rain, freshening the weary bower -
O sweetly then far off is heard
The clear note of some lonely bird.
So let Thy turtle-dove's sad call arise
In doubt and fear
Through darkening skies,
And pierce, O Lord, Thy justly-sealed ear,
Where on the house-top, all night long
She trills her widowed, faltering song.
Teach her to know and love her hour of prayer,
As faith grows rare,
Unlock her heart, and offer all its store
In holier love and humbler vows,
As suits a lost returning spouse.
Not as at first, but with intenser cry,
Upon the mount
She now must lie,
Till Thy dear love to blot the sad account
Of her rebellious race be won,
Pitying the mother in the son.
But chiefly (for she knows Thee angered worst
By holiest things
Profaned and curst),
Chiefly for Aaron's seed she spreads her wings,
If but one leaf she may from Thee
Win of the reconciling tree.
For what shall heal, when holy water banes!
Or who may guide
O'er desert plains
Thy loved yet sinful people wandering wide,
If Aaron's hand unshrinking mould
An idol form of earthly gold?
Therefore her tears are bitter, and as deep
Her boding sigh,
As, while men sleep,
Sad-hearted mothers heave, that wakeful lie,
To muse upon some darling child
Roaming in youth's uncertain wild.
Therefore on fearful dreams her inward sight
Is fain to dwell -
What lurid light
Shall the last darkness of the world dispel,
The Mediator in His wrath
Descending down the lightning's path.
Yet, yet awhile, offended Saviour, pause,
In act to break
Thine outraged laws,
O spare Thy rebels for Thine own dear sake;
Withdraw Thine hand, nor dash to earth
The covenant of our second birth.
'Tis forfeit like the first--we own it all -
Yet for love's sake
Let it not fall;
But at Thy touch let veiled hearts awake,
That nearest to Thine altar lie,
Yet least of holy things descry.
Teacher of teachers! Priest of priests! from Thee
The sweet strong prayer
Must rise, to free
First Levi, then all Israel, from the snare.
Thou art our Moses out of sight -
Speak for us, or we perish quite.
Why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken
up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have
seen Him go into Heaven. Acts i. 11
Soft cloud, that while the breeze of May
Chants her glad matins in the leafy arch,
Draw'st thy bright veil across the heavenly way
Meet pavement for an angel's glorious march:
My soul is envious of mine eye,
That it should soar and glide with thee so fast,
The while my grovelling thoughts half buried lie,
Or lawless roam around this earthly waste.
Chains of my heart, avaunt I say -
I will arise, and in the strength of love
Pursue the bright track ere it fade away,
My Saviour's pathway to His home above.
Sure, when I reach the point where earth
Melts into nothing from th' uncumbered sight,
Heaven will o'ercome th' attraction of my birth.
And I shall sink in yonder sea of light:
Till resting by th' incarnate LORD,
Once bleeding, now triumphant for my sake,
I mark Him, how by seraph hosts adored,
He to earth's lowest cares is still awake.
The sun and every vassal star,
All space, beyond the soar of angel wings,
Wait on His word: and yet He stays His car
For every sigh a contrite suppliant brings.
He listens to the silent tear
For all the anthems of the boundless sky -
And shall our dreams of music bar our ear
To His soul-piercing voice for ever nigh?
Nay, gracious Saviour--but as now
Our thoughts have traced Thee to Thy glory-throne
So help us evermore with thee to bow
Where human sorrow breathes her lowly moan.
We must not stand to gaze too long,
Though on unfolding Heaven our gaze we bend
Where lost behind the bright angelic throng
We see CHRIST'S entering triumph slow ascend.
No fear but we shall soon behold,
Faster than now it fades, that gleam revive,
When issuing from his cloud of fiery gold
Our wasted frames feel the true sun, and live.
Then shall we see Thee as Thou art,
For ever fixed in no unfruitful gaze,
But such as lifts the new-created heart,
Age after age, in worthier love and praise.
SUNDAY AFTER ASCENSION
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one
to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 St.
Peter iv. 10.
The Earth that in her genial breast
Makes for the down a kindly nest,
Where wafted by the warm south-west
It floats at pleasure,
Yields, thankful, of her very best,
To nurse her treasure:
True to her trust, tree, herb, or reed,
She renders for each scattered seed,
And to her Lord with duteous heed
Gives large increase:
Thus year by year she works unfeed,
And will not cease.
Woe worth these barren hearts of ours,
Where Thou hast set celestial flowers,
And watered with more balmy showers
Than e'er distilled
In Eden, on th' ambrosial bowers -
Yet nought we yield.
Largely Thou givest, gracious Lord,
Largely Thy gifts should be restored;
Freely Thou givest, and Thy word
Is, "Freely give."
He only, who forgets to hoard,
Has learned to live.
Wisely Thou givest--all around
Thine equal rays are resting found,
Yet varying so on various ground
They pierce and strike,
That not two roseate cups are crowned
With drew alike:
E'en so, in silence, likest Thee,
Steals on soft-handed Charity,
Tempering her gifts, that seem so free,
By time and place,
Till not a woe the bleak world see,
But finds her grace:
Eyes to the blind, and to the lame
Feet, and to sinners wholesome blame,
To starving bodies food and flame,
By turns she brings;
To humbled souls, that sink for shame,
Lends heaven-ward wings:
Leads them the way our Saviour went,
And shows Love's treasure yet unspent;
As when th' unclouded heavens were rent.
Opening His road,
Nor yet His Holy Spirit sent
To our abode.
Ten days th' eternal doors displayed
Were wondering (so th' Almighty bade)
Whom Love enthroned would send, in aid
Of souls that mourn,
Left orphans in Earth's dreary shade
As noon as born.
Open they stand, that prayers in throngs
May rise on high, and holy songs,
Such incense as of right belongs
To the true shrine,
Where stands the Healer of all wrongs
In light divine;
The golden censer in His hand,
He offers hearts from every land,
Tied to His own by gentlest band
Of silent Love:
About Him winged blessings stand
In act to move.
A little while, and they shall fleet
From Heaven to Earth, attendants meet
On the life-giving Paraclete
Speeding His flight,
With all that sacred is and sweet,
On saints to light.
Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, all
Shall feel the shower of Mercy fall,
And startling at th' Almighty's call,
Give what He gave,
Till their high deeds the world appal,
And sinners save.
And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty
wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And
there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat
upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.
Acts ii. 2-4
When God of old came down from Heaven,
In power and wrath He came;
Before His feet the clouds were riven,
Half darkness and half flame:
Around the trembling mountain's base
The prostrate people lay;
A day of wrath and not of grace;
A dim and dreadful day.
But when he came the second time,
He came in power and love,
Softer than gale at morning prime
Hovered His holy Dove.
The fires that rushed on Sinai down