Page images
PDF
EPUB

Dear tokens of a pardoning God,

We hail ye, one and all,
As when our fathers walk'd abroad,

Freed from their twelvemonths' thrall.

How joyful from th' 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 th' 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 reveal'd :

Love imag'd 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 th' 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 turn'd 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 beam'd

Too bright for us to scan,
But we may face the rays that stream'd

From the mild Son of Man.

G

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.

ASH-WEDNESDAY.

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.

YES—deep within and deeper yet

“ The rankling shaft of conscience hide, “Quick let the swelling eye forget

6. 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 ?

66

“ The loving eye that watches thine

“ Close as the air that wraps thee roundWhy in thy sorrow should it pine,

“ Since never of thy sin it found ? " And wherefore should the heathen see 9

66 What chains of darkness thee enslave, “ And mocking say, Lo, this is he

66 Who own'd 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.

1 Wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Joel ii. 17.

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 th' eternal home 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 pour'd from Heaven, What time, unshelter'd and unfed',

Far in the wild His steps were driven.

r St. Matt. iv. 1.

« PreviousContinue »